THE GOOD NEWS SUMMARY

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THE GOOD NEWS
There is a profound spiritual awakening occuring here in America as evidenced by a growing committment to deep ecology ,peace, and wholistic health...Today, via the printed word and the miracle of the internet tens of millions of health conscious individuals have access to invaluable information regarding programs, products , information and ideas which serve to actualize genuine health... To summarize , in response to our current self-induced Environmental/Ecological /Health “Crisis”, we Americans are becomming progressively aware of the importance of: • Common Sense • Adequate Sunlight • Proper Nutrition and the Underconsumption of Food • Pure Water • Fresh Air • Meaningful Work and Relationships • Adequate Rest • Healthy Mental/Emotional Attitudes • Moderate Exercise • Spiritual Awareness

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COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CARE REFORM
In light of a developing awareness, as documented in the preceding pages, it is self evident that now is the time to initiate comprehensive health care reforms in America... The good news is that this process of comprehensive health care reform is in motion now.

OUR FUNDAMENTAL THESIS
As we become aware that health is a function of lifestyle and as the business of America becomes the business of health for our people, we shall become a peaceful nation of strong, vital socially conscious and creative individuals... Through eco-agriculture, environmental awareness, wholistic health education, and comprehensive wholistic health insurance for all, we will manifest individually and collectively our inherent birthright..Freedom From Dis-ease...

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ECONOMIC/ECOLOGIC RECOVERY PLAN
Our Lost Wealth: People + Natural Resources = Real Wealth THE UNITED STATES WASTES MORE THAN $2 TRILLION ANNUALLY “Our Lost Wealth” is excerpted from Paul Hawken’s “Natural Capitalism,” the cover story of Mother Jones magazine’s April ‘97 issue. Hawken argues that business’ focus on “using more resources to make fewer people more productive” has the perverse effect of eliminating jobs when labor is plentiful while depleting our limited natural resources. The result: immense resource waste and incalculable social waste stemming from a growing population of un- and underemployed people. Look for Mother Jones on your local newsstand or call 1-800- GET-MOJO to request a trial issue. Paul Hawken is an internationally known businessman and author. The United States prides itself on being the richest country in the world. yet we can’t balance the budget, pay for education, or take care of the aged and infirm. How is it that we can have both a growing economy and a growing underclass? In politics, they say “follow the money.” What you find is that the waste in resources and people shows up in our overall gross domestic product (GDP). Of the $7 trillion spent every year in the United States, we waste at least $2 trillion. What is meant by waste? Money spent where the buyer gets no value. GET OUT YOUR CALCULATORS The World Resources Institute has found that roadway congestion costs $100 billion per year in lost productivity, not counting gasoline, accident and maintenance costs. Highway accidents cost $358 billion per year, including $228 billion in pain and suffering and $40 billion in property damage. We spend another $85 billion indirectly subsidizing free parking at shopping malls and workplaces. The hidden social costs of driving - hidden because they are not paid by motorists directly - also include disease and damage to crops and forests caused by auto exhaust. these charges total $300 billion. We spend $50 billion a year to guard sea-lanes and to protect oil sources we would not need if President Reagan had not gutted emission standards in 1986. We spend nearly $200 billion a year in supplementary energy costs because we do not employ the same energy efficiency standards for our businesses and homes as do the Japanese. We waste around $65 billion on non-essential or fraudulent medical tests and, by some estimates, $250 billion on inflated overhead generated by the current health insurance system. We spend $52 billion on substance abuse, $69 billion on obesity treatments, $125 billion on heart disease, and, some estimate, as much as $100 billion on health problems related to air pollution. Legal, accounting, audit, bookkeeping and record-keeping expenditures to comply with an unnecessarily complex and unenforceable tax code cost citizens at least $250 billion a year; what Americans fail to pay the IRS adds up to another $150 billion. Crime costs taxpayers $450 billion a year; lawsuits, $300 billion. These figures don’t include disburse– 197 –

ments for Superfund sites, monies to clean up nuclear weapons facilities (estimated to be as high as $500 billion), the annual cost of 25 billion tons of material waste, subsidies to environmentally damaging industries, loss of fisheries, damage from overgrazing, water pollution, topsoil loss, government waste, gambling, or the social costs of unemployment. Conceivably, half the GDP is spent on waste. If we could shift a portion of these expenditures to more productive uses, we would have the money to balance our budget, take care of those who cannot care for themselves, raise wonderfully educated and responsible children, restore degraded environments, and help developing countries. If, for example, we had simply adopted stricter energy standards in 1974 - standards in use by Japan - and had applied the savings to the national debt, we would not have a national deficit today.
(Reprint, Earth Times, May, 1997 edition)

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narrow. How can we create an integrated. short-term criteria can produce disastrous results globally and in the long run. this research must be integrated into environmental and economic policy at the local.and how do we quantify . and international level..health and sustainability in ecological and economic systems? How do we maintain a sustainable life-support system? What are the relationships between ecological.. Critically important research is needed to facilitate the transition to sustainable global production systems. Ecological Economics is a transdisciplinary field of study that addresses the relationship between ecosystems and economic systems in the broadest sense. multiscale.. . pluralistic approach to quantitative ecological economic modeling while developing new ways to effectively deal with the inherent uncertainty involved – 199 – . A HEALTHY ECONOMY CAN ONLY EXIST IN SYMBIOSIS WITH A HEALTHY ECOLOGICAL SYSTEM. economic. An increasing awareness that our global ecological life-support system is endangered is forcing us to realize that decisions made on the basis of local.. How can we create better accounting systems that integrate resource depletion and ecological impacts into national and international economic performance? Ecological and Economic Modeling: Preserving and protecting threatened ecosystems requires an understanding of the direct and indirect effects of human activities on large geographical areas over time. Innovative research aimed at articulating the mechanisms by which human populations can strike a dynamic balance between economic development and the ecological constraints they face constitutes the foundation on which the future will be built.. To be effective. thus presenting an incomplete and skewed picture of economic welfare. Primary topics of ecological economics research include: Sustainability: What do we mean by . regional. and cultural sustainability? Natural Resource Valuation: What are the most sensible ways of assigning value to natural resources and natural capital? What is the role and value of biodiversity? System Accounting: Conventional measures of economic performance do not factor resource depletion or environmental degradation into economic trends.IN THE END. There is also a growing acknowledgement that traditional economic and ecological models and concepts fall short in their ability to deal with global ecological problems. This integration is necessary because conceptual and professional isolation have led to economic and environmental policies that are mutually destructive rather than reinforcing in the long term. Ecological Economics goes beyond the normal conceptions of scientific disciplines and attempts to integrate and synthesize many different disciplinary perspectives in order to achieve an ecologically and economically sustainable world.ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS The International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) is concerned with extending and integrating the study of management of “Nature’s household” (ecology) and “humanity’s household” (economics).

Solomons. Box 1589. MD 20688 TEL: (410) 326-0794 .FAX: (410) 326-7354 – 200 – .O.in modeling complex systems? Institutions for Sustainable Governance: What regulatory and/or incentive-based instruments are most appropriate for assuring sustainability? How can governmental and other institutions be modified to better account for and respond to the environmental impacts of economic development? The International Society for Ecological Economics P.

ECO-NOMICS $100 Billion We support a rapid transition from a fossil fuel’fission econmy into a sustainable ...... and initiate a Golden Age of clean unlimited energy for the Global Family.net) ECO-AGRICULTURE The Strenght Of Our Nation Is Directly Proportional To The Health of The People.Healthy Soil Creates Healthy Plants. ocean thermal energy conversion and superconductors.. – 201 – ..This Corporation will be funded by the public /private sector via investment credits..fuel cells. create millions of new jobs. dramatically reduce our dependence on middle-eastern oil ... wind energy biomass.THE ECONOMY/ENVIRONMENT All The Power That Ever Was Or Will Be. donations.com.. Through Conscious Capitalism we will solve global warming... photovoltaics. Is Here Now.The Strenght Of Our People Is Directly Proportional To The Health Of Our Soil.a national corporation which invests in non-polluting energy technologies such as cold fusion . the Tobin Tax (tobintax.Healthy Plants Creates Healthy People...global solar/hydrogen/hemp based economy through the creation of The Gaia/Solaris Consortium. phoenixproject.org) and various Green Taxes. INFINITE ENERGY = INFINITE PROSPERITY = INFINITE FREEDOM (EarthFuture..

overgrazing. EROSION & DEPLETION OF RESOURCES Agricide includes escalating soil erosion. Garth Youngberg. executive director of the Institute for Alternative Agriculture. An estimated 85% of all U. habitat areas. As Dr. The need and desire to preserve and enhance fish and wildlife resources is one of the most important factors accounting for the increased interest in alternative agriculture. the pollution of lakes. agricultural land is used in the production of animal foods. Soil erosion and land development together account for an estimated loss of some thirty-four square miles of U. and in turn. repeated spraying with herbicides is done to control weeds. the numbers and species of wildlife .THE HEALTH OF THE EARTH & ITS PEOPLE The wholesale industrialized exploitation of nature for short-term gain cannot be sustained. and Agricultural Research Services (USDA) scientists J. which in turn is linked with deforestation. for the most part. and it’s far-reaching consequences show that the health of earth and its inhabitants cannot be separated. Congress has taken action to help prevent one major source of soil erosion . onethird of the world’s arable land will be desert by the turn of the century. instead.S. The same problem is taking place throughout the world.S. “Up until four decades ago. extinction of species. I. motivated by federal farm supports and the increased resale value of such land to investors seeking tax shelters. conventional agriculture in the U. One of the main problems with conservation tillage practiced according to this model is the further poisoning of groundwater and contamination of crops grown on poisoned land. the National Academy of Sciences reported that the nation had lost one-third of its topsoil.S. . The USDA estimates that cropland erosion is occurring in the United States at a rate of two billion tons of soil a year. and the development of fast growing. and heavy applications of chemical fertilizers and pesticides (have resulted in) a concomitant decline in the (wildlife) food base. the destruction of groundwater sources from pollution and overuse. The crime of agricide is perpetrated on a variety of fronts. (Other analysts contend that the rate is four to six billion tons.” – 202 – . I. clean tillage cultivation. Papendick observe.” They cite that “monoculture grain production along with intensive row cropping. agricultural productivity every day. the impoverishment and poisoning of the soil.) In 1970. F. water pollution and depletion. beneficial to the support and proliferation of many wildlife species. the use of nitrogenous fertilizers that are also implicated in the destruction of the earth’s ozone layer. and desertification.” The sodbuster phenomenon in western states has entailed the plowing and seeding of hundreds of thousands of highly erodible rangeland. destruction of wildlife habitats. larger machinery. and oceans from the runoff of topsoil contaminated with chemicals. which entails less frequent tilling of the land. . high yield hybrid strains of crops and animals that are more susceptible to disease. it is a major component of what we have termed agricide. It is quite likely that the Department of Agriculture has come up with a solution to soil erosion that is actually worse than the problem they are endeavoring to correct: more farmers are now practicing what is called conservation tillage. was. At the present rate of land degradation. rivers. loss of soil productivity through mineral depletion and erosion.that by “sodbusters. Parr and R.

one-third of the American diet depends directly or indirectly on crops pollinated by honey bees and 6% of farm production ($3. One half of the land area in the United States is covered with forage.5 billion acres of the earth’s land not covered by ice. this ecologically unsound industry is going to intensify its impact on the natural environment. That’s more than one billion acres. rivers become polluted with the water runoff from these areas. sheep. “provide the sole vehicle by which much of the earth’s surface can be exploited for food production. lakes. According to Dr. now comes from these nonarable lands.5 billion acres are usable for this purpose. at a reasonable level of production. it may be more prudent to replace cattle. and this waste we esteem one of the great achievements of our civilization. Some 7.” But. enough to give every cow 200 acres to graze all by herself!” While we may find it aesthetically pleasing to see green rolling hills covered in sheep. PESTICIDES AND POLLUTANTS In some areas. The people of the United States are pouring into the sea. But pesticides are now at work reducing the bee population by an estimated 2% per year. the land is saturated with synthetic fertilizers. “Grazeable land is America’s largest natural resource. we should not be tricked into thinking that these pastoral scenes are natural.highly scattered or otherwise inaccessible plant life.” The problems of dealing with the 1. H. Sehwabe estimates that 60% of the world’s animal protein production. to cut production costs.S. The widespread use of insecticides results in the nonselective poisoning of both “good” and “bad” insects. Hoperaft has known. and private landowners enjoy tax advantages for clearing tropical rain forests and other natural ecosystems for agricultural development as has been done in Hawaii. this byproducts is not a natural manure that can be easily recycled onto the fields. only 3.24 billion tons of solid and liquid waste from animals are astronomical.000 to three million pounds of phosphorus per million of adult population annually. They are industrialized landscapes that should be returned to nature. two to four million pounds of potassium and 75. Santa Cruz. Caine of the University of California. and most of this is already under plow. it – 203 – . which then become pests because the other insect species and predatory birds that normally keep them in balance have been killed off.UNSOUND ANIMAL HUSBANDRY The U. M. Cattle and sheep-ranching industries are subsidized by the public. Herbivorous animals. about thirty million metric tons. and cattle roaming on the wide open range.5 billion) is at least indirectly dependent on such pollination. worldwide. this practice can lead to the development of resistant strains and to the unchecked multiplication of currently harmless but naturally resistant insects. rivers and underground waters six to 12 million pounds of nitrogen. Rather. of the 37. Worse. Professor Calvin Sehwabe observes that. and particularly ruminants such as cattle. as Dr. the AFBF supports the “modification of existing regulations to more easily permit restricted use of previously cancelled pesticides under emergency conditions. Thus. Beef magazine states. This is not to say that natural grazing is undesirable. Some 1% of the sun’s energy reaching the earth is stored in plants. this loss could have serious agricultural consequences. Nevertheless.75 billion acres could be cultivated. The utilization of this energy for feeding man is possible only through the activities of grazing and browsing animals that harvest under their own power and convert into the highest quality human food . and goats with indigenous wild ruminants. This is about twice the amount of land that is available for cultivation. cattle industry is beginning to turn back to raising cattle on range and forage because fattening and finishing cattle primarily on grains is becoming too costly.

which are toxic to plants and impair photosynthesis. How have these trace-mineral deficiencies arisen? First. Nitrous oxide also breaks down into photochemical oxidants. arsenic. in turn. And in some areas there is natural excess. phosphorus potassium. This is being leached from the soil by acid-rain pollution and now contaminates lakes. analyzed the ash residue of burned plants and found that the primary components were potassium. and possibly emotional instability. over a century ago. It has been estimated that a reduction in ambient ozone levels of 25% would produce nearly $2 billion in benefits. Had he available then modern analytical equipment. etc. According to Larry Ephron. legs. There is also the problem of topsoils that show declining levels of essential nutrients (nitrogen. and agricultural historian and analyst. impairs the health and productivity of farm animals. while a 25% increase would lead to an additional $2. nitrogen. no eyes. and chemical (natural and industrial) poisons. and our crops and forests are related in part to deficiencies in certain essential trace minerals. soil erosion and irrigation can lead to the accumulation of toxic levels of trace elements in lakes located in drainage areas distant from agricultural activities. and phosphorus. or premature senility). but this caused serious imbalances in the soil and other essential nutrients were not put back. manure.” Applying potassium. The deficiencies in our agricultural soil and the crops we and farm animals eat are so marked that simply putting crushed gravel screenings onto the soil and kiln dust into animal feed will dramatically increase the farmer’s yields of grain and meat alike. the German chemist Justus van Liebig. and with aluminum over much of the world. rivers. And especially from accelerated extraction through cropping and not returning what we take from the land. What is returned is not blood. and intensive agriculture. Forty percent of waterfowl eggs contained dead embryos in 1981. nitrogen and phosphate certainly boosted crop yields. Sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions from electrical utilities and automobiles cause harmful acid rain. pathogenic organisms (especially viruses).has high concentrations of drugs. Many of the diseases that afflict us. which has been accelerated by deforestation. and copper. and abnormally high amounts of undigested protein.3 billion in crop losses. but artificial – 204 – . from natural erosion. Air pollution is a serious threat to agricultural productivity. Immunosuppression and increased susceptibility to stress. and 20% of hatched chicks had deformities: swollen heads. antlers. it is therefore a serious freshwater pollutant. etc. mutagens and teratogens. our domestic animals. selenium-rich fields) has built up in plants and fish the birds eat. bones.). His findings became the basis of using these artificial chemicals as fertilizer. Waterfowl are now suffering the consequences of improper land use in the San Joaquin Kesterson reservoir in California. strip=mining. and the dead remains of animals. wings. which. he would have been able to identify fore than 90 different essential elements in plants that should be returned to the soil. and drinking water. and lessens the nutritive value of the crops to customers. and with selenium in Southern California. (It has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. decreases crop production and resistance to disease. Apparently realizing the hazards of using such a limited range of artificial chemical fertilizers which he had helped stimulate. carcinogens. Selenium (from distant. have been linked with trace mineral deficiencies and imbalances. Disposing of manure in oxidation lagoons deprives the fields of nitrogenous fertilizer. On the other hand. he wrote that he had “sinned against the wisdom of the Creator.

pesticides. Arsenic. many are stored in their original form within plants (for example. These synthetic fertilizers . etc. so more pesticides and herbicides are needed. As has been noted. eggs. or it becomes quickly compacted. The rains run off it and the winds blow away the topsoil. Irrigation now accounts for over a fourth of the nation’s crops. a phenomenon that could aggravate the ecological problems of other river pollutants. the crops are nutritionally deficient. and salination. pesticides have also been implicated in creating algal blooms in fresh water. Hazardous chemicals used as pesticides (including herbicides) and antibiotics. Additional chemicals are used for their color .) Recently.or flavor-enhancing and stabilizing properties. wax covering of vegetables. and such surplus agri– 205 – . the rendered remains of animals. beef cattle are fed with poultry manure. including the endangered brown pelican in Louisiana. poisonous to humans. particularly nitrates (from fertilizers). (It has also been found in fish-eating birds. underlying the Great Plains grain belt. the soil the ‘flesh’ of the earth . (Sugar. though they temporarily help boost yields.) The EPA is considering the ban of daminozide. The quality of the aquifer is now seriously threatened by fertilizers. Lacking organic material as well as trace minerals and carbon essential for humus formation. and freezing is accomplished with other ingredientextending and “fortifying” chemicals. and potash. This is not enough. growth stimulants and other drugs in animal feeds are absorbed into the meat. It has been estimated that the use of water for irrigated agriculture has tripled since 1940. Other compounds are employed to facilitate storage. for example. and dairy products we consume. The vast underground reservoir known as the Ogallala Aquifer.some of which are derived from nonrenewable fossil fuels . artificial ripening with gas and petroleum. a possible carcinogen that is sprayed on apples to make them ripen uniformly and so permit the grower to call in only one team of pickers. is one of the most ubiquitous of these chemicals. phosphates.does not hold moisture.).nitrogen. A secondary problem is the unhealthiness of the standard American diet. Residues from the insecticide toxaphene have been found in rainwater in Bermuda and in rivers and lakes in 29 states sampled nationally by the EPA. There is increased reliance upon a last-spray pesticide treatment of crops to prevent spoilage. and greater use of food preservatives (some of which may be carcinogenic). paper mills. and cadmium and lead (from sources such as automobile pollution and sewage runoff. is being depleted rapidly to irrigate fields that were meant only for dryland farming.do not sufficiently enhance the health of the crops. Groundwater supplies 25% of all water used in the United States and about 40% of all irrigation water. LIVING WITH CONSEQUENCES The threats to public health caused by the foods we eat come primarily from two sources: chemical and bacterial contamination. While a few of these agrichemicals undergo rapid natural degradation. mercury (from fungicides. is fed to poultry to improve their looks and stimulate their appetites. necessitating heavy tractor power to plow it for seeding. dieldrin accumulates in carrot tissue) and will therefore later be ingested by us or by farm animals who will further concentrate them and then pass them on to us.fertilizers . The United States holds the world record for the consumptive use of water for food production with animal products accounting for 85% of the total. which further compacts the earth.

Cattle have been killed with this drug from being sprayed by government veterinarians.) Countless chemicals (such as kepone.5-T. with a long dormancy period. Many however. The herbicide 2. accurate identification of its causal agents is virtually impossible. It was concluded that 50% of the cancer studies and 75% of the genetic toxicity experiments which had been done on pesticides were flawed and unreliable. Much of this delay has been created by private-contracting testing laboratories that falsify their reports. possibly. along with industrial chemicals such as PCB. a pesticide strongly suspected of being a “complete” carcinogen (Capable of both initiating and promoting cancer). was clearly surpassed. The problem is compounded by the fact that there are so many different chemicals contaminating the environment and the tissues of our bodies.S. thyroid cancer in rats. all of which already contain chemicals. dieldrin. According to an extensive study conducted by the National Research Council (NRC) and released in March 1984. and it is through them. it has also been found in market-basket food samples taken by the FDA. complete toxicity and health exposure assessments are available for only about 10% of the pesticides and 5% of the food additives in commercial use in the United States. Forest Service. How frequently such instances of pesticide contamination of our food chain occur is unknown.” at which the contamination level exceeds 0.3 ppm and milk cannot be sold. widely used by the U. We will only know for certain generations from now. Heptachlor. and DDT. since their biodegradation is so slow. and other related herbicides contain – 206 – . and most have not been adequately tested.4. reached levels as high as 2. Some 40 . (Some chemicals may even become more toxic when they are partially metabolized in the body: DDE and DDD are breakdown products of DDT that result in impaired eggshell formation and hatchability (especially in predatory birds. In essence. Cattle had been fed chopped pineapple tops that had been heavily treated with this pesticide under EPA permit. under stress and during location they may be released into the bloodstream.7 parts per million in the milk of thousands of cows in Hawaii in March 1982. via the food chain. This complex compound also contains both carcinogenic and mutagenic components. And since cancer is such a complex disease. it is a chlorinated hydrocarbon related to the now-outlawed compounds aldrin. Toxicity data were either inadequate or nonexistent for 64% of these substances. The FDA’s “action level. according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). because of inadequate scientific testing and data. and catfish and other commercially sold fish in Louisiana. The Environmental Protection Agency is reportedly ten years behind in its safety testing program. there are some. As has been noted. that we eventually intoxicate ourselves. While many of these chemicals are originally stored in body fat. It has been estimated that as much as 90% of all human cancers are caused by environmental factors ranging from pesticides to industrial chemicals. if and when the cancer epidemic in society begins to subside following drastic restrictions in the use of agrichemicals worldwide.350 pesticides in use. milk in Arizona. this drug causes liver cancer in mice and. Toxaphene is used widely to rid livestock of external parasites. Chemicals such as DVT enter into the food chain in these ways. 3. will remain in the food chain for generations. dieldrin. and DDT) accumulate in the bodies of freshwater and marine organisms.100 million pounds of toxaphene are probably used annually by farmers. toxaphene has been discovered in water and fish-eating birds. According to the NCI. possible lowering their viability. a fact that has necessitated the establishment of a new governmental regulatory division to ensure good laboratory practices.cultural produce as oranges and pineapples.

dioxins. Other drugs (such as methoprene and permetrin to control ticks and flies) used in cattle. Any chemical that is deliberately (pesticides) or accidentally (radioactive waste. and PBB are concentrated in cows milk from contaminated and moldy feed and contaminated pastures. Aldrin. dieldrin. Ironically. aflatoxins from moldy feeds.4. the diary cow and the human female are emerging as the ideal “guinea pigs” for monitoring the food-chain accumulations (or “biomagnification”) of such dangerous chemicals in our species. act as immunosuppressants. PCP. which are highly toxic chemicals (they cause birth defects in laboratory animals at doses in the range of several hundred parts per trillion). dioxins from the herbicide 2. Pesticides such as DDT. whether administered orally or by injection.5-T. may. and are possible the most potent carcinogens know. like the PBB’s. or pass into the milk (especially fat-soluble chemicals in the cream) and thus be ingested by people. – 207 – . lead from air pollution) broadcast onto the crops or pasture that cattle eat may be concentrated in the meat (fat) or other internal organs.

Medicinal foods With the development of so called “functional foods” and “nutraceuticals. animal and common ingredients. The Gene Giants: Masters of the Universe? is RAFI’s third annual report on the transnational enterprises that dominate commercial sale of pesticides. Hoechst (Germany) spun off Celanese. are the “true titans” of the “life industry. according to a new report by the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI). chemicals. pharmaceuticals and food. agrochemical and pharmaceutical firms. transnational firms are using complementary technologiessuch as high throughput screening. For example. in order to meet its goal of getting out of the industrial chemical industry by the end of 2000. Monsanto has spent over US$8 billion acquiring seed and agricultural biotechnology companies. in a dramatic shift to biotechnology. changing from industrial chemicals to agribusiness. Many of the world’s largest chemical corporations are shifting out of commodity petrochemicals into biology. pharmaceuticals. In December. combinatorial chemistry. The report warns that market dominance by these giant corporations combined with monopoly patents results in unprecedented corporate control over the biological basis for commercial food. farming and health. biotechnology.” With combined sales of US$20 billion per year. biotech.000 billion. the 1997 revenues of the world’s largest food and beverage corporation (Nestle. the food and beverage industry is likely to enter into strategic alliances. however. Put another way.S. Hoechst and France’s Rh6ne Poulenc merged to form Aventis”the world’s biggest life science company. agribusiness.CORPORATE CONTROL OF FOOD. According to RAFI. The combined research and development budget for Aventis will reach US$3 billion. mergers and acquisitions with seed.” the lines between food and – 208 – . its U. agrochemicals and veterinary medicines.3 billion) surpassed both the entire commercial seed industry (US$23 billion) and the entire agrochemical industry (US$31 billion). as recently as 1996. As traditional boundaries between the pharmaceutical. In 1998. cosmetics and energy sectors disappear. food and animal veterinary products. chemical subsidiary. a radical transformation of the global economy is well underway. As genetic engineering and related technolo gies become more widely used to alter the function and performance of plants. transgenics and genomics to become the primary players in all of these industrial sectors. “Life industry” is a term used by the giant transnational enterprises that basically control production and sales of commercial products for agribusiness. food. Aventis becomes the world’s top ranking finn in sales of pharmaceuticals. Food and beverages The food and beverage giants. food and pharmacy.” The total retail value of global food sales is estimated at US$2. Since 1996. over six times larger than pharmaceutical sales. Monsanto spun off its US$3 billion industrial chemicals business as a separate company in 1997. Monsanto was the fourth largest chemical company in the United States. FARMING AND HEALTH The pace of corporate concentration within the “life industry” is accelerating. US$45. roughly the equivalent of 40% of all funding for agricultural research in the private sector. seeds.

journal said the deal “effectively divides most of the U. vegetable seeds come from a single source and just four companies control 69% of the North American seed corn market.rafi. Kellogg. From 1986 to 1997. biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. corporate market share is much higher in specific seed sectors and for certain crops. www. the sale of foods touting healthy properties is expected to soon reach US$29 billion a year. Canada. 2 V9.7 billion.” The commercial market for genetically engineered seeds has expanded dramatically in scale and geographic scope. Credit: Pesticide Action Network (415) 981-1771 – 209 – . Of this total. Neglect of the public good is inevitable when the research agenda is determined by the private sector in pursuit of corporate profits. seed industry between DuPont and Monsanto. ConAgra. Source: The Gene Giants: Master of the Universe? RAN Communique.000 transgenic crop field trials were conducted in 45 countries on more than 60 crops and ten traits.O. According to industry analysts. approximately 25. According to the International Seed Trade Federation. CONCLUSION RAFI states that unchecked corporate power coupled with the vanishing role of public sector research will affect all areas of global health. Winnipeg MB R31. agbiotech firms and drug companies to merge complementary interests in food. from virtually zero in 1990.org Contact: Rural Advancement Foundation International Publications.) Seeds The top ten seed companies control over 30% of the US$23 billion commercial seed market. 40% of U. health and nutrition once considered a fundamental human right is now subject to the whims of the free market system. Following DuPont’s March 1999 announcement that it would acquire the rest of Pioneer Hi Bred International for US$7.000) were conducted in the last two years. Mars. P. Astra/ Zeneca and others are rushing to genetically engineer foods that claim to enhance health and well being. However. Box 68016 RPO Osborne. (Note that US$29 billion is higher than the global commercial seed market at US$23 billion. For example. agriculture and nutrition. Access to food. further enticing food processors. the world market for genetically engineered seed is expected to reach US$2 billion by the year 2000 and will triple to US$6 billion by 2005.medicine are blurring. the Wall St. nearly half (10.S. Companies such as DuPont. Marchl April 1999.S.

eliminate world hunger. markers. the gene engineers have made it clear that they intend to use GE to dominate and monopolize the global market for seeds. fiber. or other products for profit. By randomly inserting together the genes of non-related species — utilizing viruses. Animal genes and even human genes are randomly inserted into the chromosomes of plants. maintain that GE foods and crops are “substantially equivalent” to conventional foods. inexact. Life science corporations proclaim. bio-engineers have begun creating hundreds of new GE “Frankenfoods” and crops. or scientific protocol. that their new products will make agriculture sustainable. For the first time in history. humans. Gene engineers all over the world are now snipping. foods. inserting. animals. microorganisms — patenting them. or negative socioeconomic impacts on the world’s several billion farmers and rural villagers. These foods and crops are widely dispersed into the food chain and the environment.G E FOODS Hazards of Genetically Engineered Foods and Crops: Why We Need A Global Moratorium Ronnie Cummins Introductory overview The technology of genetic engineering (GE). and then selling the resulting gene-foods. recombining. editing. Most supermarket processed food items now “test positive” for the presence of GE ingredients. and vastly improve public health. cure disease. labeling requirements.000 dairy cows are being injected regularly with Monsanto’s recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). animals. With little or no regulatory restraints. through their business practices and political lobbying. In addi– 210 – . and plants. There are currently more than four dozen genetically engineered foods and crops being grown or sold in the US. with great fanfare. creating heretofore unimaginable transgenic life forms. is the practice of altering or disrupting the genetic blueprints of living organisms — plants. and programming genetic material. gene-altered organisms are created that pass these genetic changes onto their offspring through heredity. corporations are becoming the architects and “owners” of life. wielded by transnational “life science” corporations such as Monsanto and Novartis. fish. oblivious to human and environmental hazards. and therefore require neither mandatory labeling nor pre-market safety-testing. seeds. and unpredictable — and therefore inherently dangerous —pro-biotech governments and regulatory agencies. and animals. Despite an increasing number of scientists warning that current gene-splicing techniques are crude. This Brave New World of Frankenfoods is frightening. GE is a revolutionary new technology still in its early experimental stages of development. and bacteria as vectors. while up to 500. led by the US. rearranging. antibiotic-resistant genes. In reality. and medical products. and promoter—and permanently altering their genetic codes. Over 70 million acres of GE crops are presently under cultivation in the US. This technology has the power to break down fundamental genetic barriers — not only between species — but between humans.

yeast. are poisonous to mammals. a British molecular scientist points out. Now put a blindfold on the man doing the shooting and that’s the reality of the genetic engineer doing a gene insertion. Dr. found to be significantly different in chemical composition from regular potatoes. The “hidden menu” of these unlabeled genetically engineered foods and food ingredients in the US now includes soybeans. canola oil. corn. papaya. the environment. tomatoes. Most alarming of all. squash. In 1999. for the first time in 1988-89 used GE bacteria to produce the over-the-counter supplement... eosinophilia myalgia syndrome (EMS). damage to the rats’ stomach linings—apparently a severe viral infection — most likely was caused by the CaMv viral promoter. In 1989 a genetically engineered brand of L-tryptophan. The manufacturer. Pusztai’s pathbreaking research work unfortunately remains incomplete (government funding was cut off and he was fired after he spoke to the media). gene-splicing has already resulted in the “unexpected production of toxic substances. potatoes.000 others with a potentially fatal and painful blood disorder. a common dietary supplement. Arpad Pusztai’s explosive research findings that GE potatoes. Michael Antoniou. killed 37 Americans and permanently disabled or afflicted more than 5. According to the biotechnology industry almost 100% of US food and fiber will be genetically engineered within 5-10 years. in genetically engineered bacteria.” Increased Cancer Risks In 1994. And since regulatory agencies do not currently require the kind of thorough chemical and feeding tests that Dr. in the milk and dairy products of injected cows. It is believed that the bacteria somehow became contaminated during the recombinant DNA process. Insulin-Like Growth Factor (IGF-1). the FDA approved the sale of Monsanto’s controversial GE recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) — injected into dairy cows to force them to prodce more milk . GE-snowdrop potatoes. “Think of William Tell shooting an arrow at a target. Pusztai was conducting. But more and more scientists around the world are warning that genetic manipulation can increase the levels of natural plant toxins in foods (or create entirely new toxins) in unexpected ways by switching on genes that produce poisons.tion several dozen more GE crops are in the final stages of development and will soon be released into the environment and sold in the marketplace. Pusztai warns. damaged the vital organs and immune systems of lab rats fed the GE potatoes. As Dr. a promoter spliced into nearly all GE foods and crops. spliced with DNA from the snowdrop plant and a commonly used viral promoter. Toxins & Poisons Genetically engineered products clearly have the potential to be toxic and a threat to human health. front-page headline stories in the British press revealed Rowett Institute scientist Dr. environmental hazards and socioeconomic hazards. Genetic engineering of food and fiber products is inherently unpredictable and dangerous — for humans. and for the future of sustainable and organic agriculture. consumers have now become involuntary guinea pigs in a vast genetic experiment. could – 211 – . Japan’s third largest chemical company. and dairy products. A brief look at the already-proven and likely hazards of GE products provides a convincing argument for why we need a global moratorium on all GE foods and crops. for animals. the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus (CaMv).even though scientists warned that significantly higher levels (400-500% or more) of a potent chemical hormone. before it was recalled by the Food and Drug Administration. plants. As Dr.” The hazards of GE foods and crops fall basically into three categories: human health hazards. and animals with the problem remaining undetected until a major health hazard has arisen. cotton seed oil. soy oil. Showa Denko. Showa Denko has already paid out over $2 billion in damages to EMS victims.

has refused to . In 1998. no other industrialized country has legalized its use. may likely be harmed by exposure to foreign proteins spliced into common food products. the GAO.(Also see: Monsanto and Fox TV Unite to .” Damage to Food Quality & Nutrition A 1999 study by Dr. including Dr. Even the GATT Codex Alimentarius. bacteria. The European Union has had a ban in place since 1994.allergies can avoid hazardous GE foods and so that public health officials can trace allergens back to their source when GE-induced food allergies break out.Suppress Journalists’Free Speech on Hazards of Genetically Engineered . Significant infiltration of rBGH into the prostate of the rats as well as thyroid cysts indicated potential cancer hazards from the drug. As British scientist Dr. heretofore undisclosed Monsanto/FDA documents were released by government scientists in Canada. stringent pre-market safety-testing (including long-term animal feeding and volunteer human feeding studies) is necessary in order to prevent a future public health disaster. prostate. Since humans have never before eaten most of the foreign proteins now being gene-spliced into foods. A number of studies have shown that humans with elevated levels of IGF-1 in their bodies are much more likely to get cancer. or increased levels of human allergens or toxins we already know about.Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH or rBST) Food Allergies In 1996 a major GE food disaster was narrowly averted when Nebraska researchers learned that a Brazil nut gene spliced into soybeans could induce potentially fatal allergies in people sensitive to Brazil nuts. Marc Lappe published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that concentrations of beneficial phytoestrogen compounds thought to protect against heart disease and cancer were lower in genetically modified soybeans than in traditional strains. showing damage to laboratory rats fed dosages of rBGH. arguing that increased antibiotic residues in the milk of rBGH-injected cows (resulting from higher rates of udder infections requiring antibiotic treatment) posed an unacceptable risk for public health. These and other studies.Mandatory labeling is also necessary so that those suffering from food . Subsequently the government of Canada banned rBGH in early 1999. indicate that genetically engineering food will likely result in foods lower in quality and nutrition. and colon cancer. whose symptoms can range from mild unpleasantness to sudden death. a United Nations food standards body. Although rBGH continues to be injected into 4-5% of all US dairy cows. In addition the US Congressional watchdog agency. Pusztai’s. – 212 – .pose serious hazards for human breast. People with food allergies (which currently afflicts 8% of all American children). Allergic reactions typically occur only some time after the subject is sensitized by initial exposure to the allergen. and fat. For example the milk from cows injected with rBGH contains higher levels of pus.certify that rBGH is safe. Unfortunately the FDA and other global regulatory agencies do not routinely require pre-market animal and human studies to ascertain whether new allergens or toxins. are present in genetically engineered foods. told the FDA not to approve rBGH. Mae-Wan Ho points out “There is no known way to predict the allergenic potential of GE foods. Animal tests of these Brazil nut-spliced soybeans had turned up negative.

including ladybugs and lacewings. Wind. polluting the DNA of crops of organic and non-GE farmers. recent studies have found that US farmers growing GE crops are using just as many toxic pesticides and herbicides as conventional farmers. Genetic Pollution “Genetic pollution” and collateral damage from GE field crops already have begun to wreak environmental havoc. contributing to the growing public health danger of antibiotic resistance — of infections that cannot be cured with traditional antibiotics. and in some cases are using more. because they don’t believe genetic pollution can be controlled. The study adds to a growing body of evidence that GE crops are adversely affecting a number of beneficial insects. EU (European Union) authorities are currently considering a ban on all GE foods containing antibiotic resistant marker genes. for example new strains of salmonella. AgrEvo. Damage to Beneficial Insects and Soil Fertility Earlier this year. Novartis. Pests and weeds will inevitably emerge that are pesticide or herbicide-resistant. and enterococci. Scientists estimate that herbicide-resistant crops planted around the globe will triple the amount of toxic broad-spectrum herbicides used in agriculture. Creation of GE “Superweeds” and “Superpests” Genetically engineering crops to be herbicide-resistant or to produce their own pesticide presents dangerous problems. These broad-spectrum herbicides are designed to literally kill everything green. rain. Increased Pesticide Residues in the Soil and on Crops Contrary to biotech industry propaganda. can apply more poisonous herbicides to crops to kill weeds. called an antibiotic resistance marker gene (ARM). These companies are genetically engineering plants to be resistant to herbicides that they manufacture so they can sell more herbicides to farmers who. and Rhone-Poulenc — that sell toxic pesticides. Because they are alive. and insect pollinators have begun carrying genetically-altered pollen into adjoining fields. The so-called “benefits” of these herbicide-resistant crops are that farmers can spray as much of a particular herbicide on their crops as they want — killing the weeds without damaging their crop. they often link it to another gene.Antibiotic Resistance When gene engineers splice a foreign gene into a plant or microbe. bees. in turn. They found that pollen from genetically engineered Bt corn was poisonous to Monarch butterflies. that helps determine if the first gene was successfully spliced into the host organism. The leaders in biotechnology are the same giant chemical companies — Monsanto. Some researchers warn that these ARM genes might unexpectedly recombine with disease-causing bacteria or microbes in the environment or in the guts of animals or people who eat GE food. and possibly birds. Cornell University researchers made a startling discovery. campylobacter. which – 213 – . An organic farm in Texas has been contaminated with genetic drift from GE crops on a nearby farm and EU regulators are considering setting an “allowable limit” for genetic contamination of non-GE foods. ecoli. gene-altered crops are inherently more unpredictable than chemical pollutants — they can impossible to recall genetically engineered organisms back to the laboratory or the field. birds. DuPont. Crops genetically engineered to be herbicide -resistant account for 70% of all GE crops planted in 1998. bees. as well as beneficial soil microorganisms.

living under constant pressure from GE crops.such as the Terminator Technology will render seeds infertile and force . Ethical Hazards The genetic engineering and patenting of animals reduces living beings to the status of manufactured products and will result in much suffering. Creation of New Viruses and Bacteria Gene-splicing will inevitably result in unanticipated outcomes and dangerous surprises that damage plants and the environment. overpowering wild species in the same way that introduced exotic species. and so on). the USDA announced that scientists had completed genetic “road maps” for cattle and pigs. What will happen to wild fish and marine species. GE patents . We are already seeing the emergence of the first “superweeds” as GE herbicide-resistant crops such as rapeseed (canola) spread their herbicide-resistance traits to related weeds such as wild mustard plants. and eat twice as much food. Environmental Protection Agency whistle blowers issued similar warnings in 1997 protesting government approval. Researchers conducting experiments at Michigan State University several years ago found that genetically-altering plants to resist viruses can cause the viruses to mutate into new. crippled. when scientists release into the environment carp. In January 1994. these “manufactured” creatures have no greater value to their – 214 – . as their wild counterparts? Socioeconomic Hazards The patenting of genetically engineered foods and widespread biotech food production threatens to eliminate farming as it has been practiced for 12. Family and indigenous farmers will be driven off the land and consumers’ food choices will be dictated by a cartel of transnational corporations. blind. Genetic “Bio-Invasion” By virtue of their “superior” genes. salmon. and trout that are twice as large. more virulent forms. completely killed essential soil nutrients. This will present a serious danger for organic and sustainable farmers whose biological pest management practices will be unable to cope with increasing numbers of superpests and superweeds. more toxic chemicals will be needed to get rid of the pests. Klebsiella planticola. Scientists in Oregon found that a genetically engineered soil microorganism. If the trend is not stopped. for example. a precursor to evermore experimentation on live animals.hundreds of millions of farmers who now save and share their seeds to purchase evermore expensive GE seeds and chemical inputs from a handful of global biotech/seed monopolies.of a GE soil bacteria called Rhizobium melitoli. some genetically engineered plants and animals will inevitably run amok. which have created problems in North America. Rural communities will be devastated.000 years.means that stronger. the patenting of transgenic plants and food-producing animals will soon lead to universal “bioserfdom” in which farmers will lease their plants and animals from biotech conglomerates such as Monsanto and pay royalties on seeds and offspring. will soon evolve into “superpests” completely immune to Bt sprays and other environmentally sustainable biopesticides. such as kudzu vine and Dutch elm disease.Hundreds of millions of farmers and agricultura workers worldwide will lose their livelihoods. In addition to the cruelty inherent in such experimentation (the “mistakes” are born with painful deformities. Lab and field tests also indicate that common plant pests such as cotton boll worms.

biotechnology reduces all life to bits of information (genetic code) that can be arranged and rearranged at whim.animals.net with the simple message: subscribe pure-food -action. such as the infamous “Harvard mouse” which contains a human cancer-causing gene that will be passed down to all succeeding generations.organicconsumersassociation. Originally published by Ronnie Cummins in the August 24. Campaign for Food Safety News.” St. will GE “designer babies” be next? Also see: Interview with Dr. Stripped of their integrity and sacred qualities. To subscribe to the monthly electronic newsletter. Vandana Shiva .“creators” than mechanical inventions. The Campaign for Food Safety is a public interest organization dedicated to building a healthy. animals who are merely objects to their “inventors” will be treated as such. hundreds of genetically engineered “freak” animals are awaiting patent approval from the federal government. were created to suffer. A purely reductionist science. Animals genetically engineered for use in laboratories. Louis. One can only wonder. 1999. We are a global clearinghouse for information and grassroots technical assistance. Republished with permission. Ronnie Cummins works at the Campaign for Food Safety. after the wholesale gene-altering and patenting of .“The deeper you can manipulate living structures the more you can control food and medicine. safe. The Organic Consumers Association . 1999 issue of the Internet publication Campaign for Food Safety News. Currently.com 218-726-1443 – 215 – . Missouri More articles on Genetic Engineering Published in Motion Magazine August 29. send an email message to: < majordomo@mr. and sustainable system of food production and consumption.

James Echle. admitted that genetic drift from gene-altered canola fields in Canada had contaminated certified “non-GE seed” export shipments to Britain. Thailand. cornstarch. who directs the Tokyo office of the American Soybean Association. At recent international conventions such as the Biosafety Protocol meeting in Montreal in January and the UN Codex Alimentarius meeting in Ottawa in May. Japan and South Koreawhere public concern is rising—have the biotech industry extremely worried. Gene-foods and patents on living organisms have become hot button political issues in India. no safety-testing” position.000 tons. compared to only 364. France. since these two nations alone buy $11. Canada’s canola exports to Europe similarly have fallen from $500 million a year to near zero.WHO’S WINNING THE FRANKENFOODS FIGHT? News and Analysis on Genetic Engineering.000 tons for unsegregated (GE-tainted) US soybean futures. Factory Farming. Germany and Sweden. Mexico. and a host of other nations. the US government has become increasingly isolated in its “no labeling. Among the most recent blows to the agbiotech industry have been the following: • Storm clouds in Asia. Japan dropped a regulatory bombshell in mid-April when the Ministry of Health announced that starting next year agricultural producers must “screen” imported genetically modified foods for potential food allergies and other health hazards. & Organics Ronnie Cummins. popcorn and frozen or canned corn—are almost certain to switch to non-genetically engineered ingredients once they’re forced to label. and the Philippines. On the first day of trading. and organic food is booming throughout the industrialized world. and fast-food chains ban GE soy or soy derivatives in animal feeds. Meanwhile Brazilian exporters are doing a brisk business selling “GE-free” soybeans to European buyers. while soybean exports have fallen from $2. told the Star-Tribune “I don’t think anybody will label containers genetically modified.3 billion of US agriculture exports every year. Advanta Seeds. The four year food fight by European consumers and farmers is slowly but surely driving genetically engineered (GE) foods and crops off the EU market. non-GE buyers committed to 914. Consumer rejection of gene-foods is steadily spreading to Japan. prospects for a Biotech Century have dimmed considerably. South Korea. Malaysia. In addition new mandatory labeling rules on GE food ingredients coming into force next April will have a major impact on the marketplace. India. According to a report by Sharon Schmickle in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on April 30.” he said. “It’s like putting a skull and crossbones on your product. Japanese importers and manufacturers of many common food products—including tofu. a division of biotech giant AstraZeneca. On May 18 the latest in a series of GE scandals rocked Europe as a major rapeseed (canola) seller. US corn exports to the EU have fallen from $360 million a year to near zero. Since the first of the year. Brazil. supermarkets. corn snacks.” – 216 – . BioDemocracy News 27 May 2000 The worst nightmares of Monsanto and the Gene Giants are becoming reality. the largest in the world. On May 18 the Tokyo Grain Exchange soy futures market begin for the first time to offer wholesale traders a choice of GE or non-GE soybeans. New Zealand. including the United States and Canada.6 billion annually to $1 billion— and are expected to fall even further as major food processors. Australia. miso.

“We have to respect the preferences of our customers. Monsanto laid off 20 of the 30 employees in their other Bt potato lab in Idaho. Burger King. the government of Sri Lanka formally banned the import of GE foods and crops on April 23. Grace on a chemical formulation derived from the Neem tree. one of McDonald’s largest suppliers. told farmers they would no longer accept gene-altered spuds. a number of leading supermarket chains admitted privately that mandatory labeling of GE foods is probably inevitable. Approximately 50. Idaho. and several sizable supermarket chains. “Genetically modified foods are getting the thumbs down. A new EU-wide survey. Frito-Lay. 1999 a number of major US food corporations—including baby food giants Gerber.” said Fred Zerza. a spokesman for J. were genetically engineered in North America. Monsanto’s retreat on Bt potatoes comes in the wake of news stories in the Wall Street Journal and Associated Press that America’s leading potato buyers—including McDonald’s.htm indicate that Bt cotton fields – 217 – . and Mead-Johnson (infant formula). Next year Bt spuds may become an extinct species. and Procter & Gamble—are eliminating Bt potatoes from their brand-name french fries and potato chips. two of North America’s largest potato processors. Recent field reports posted at www. which has been used as a bio-pesticide and medicinal agent for generations by indigenous villagers and farmers in India.” Professor George Gaskell of the London School of Economics. corn chip king Frito-Lay. consumer aversion to GE foods is increasing. Whole Foods. Vandana Shiva and India and EU public interest activists registered a major victory in mid-May when the European Patent Office withdrew a controversial patent previously granted to pharmaceutical giant W. McCain’s and Lamb-Weston. • Patent victory in India. and Genuardi’s. Even in the heartland of biotech. showed that consumers in the EU were “deeply wary of genetically modified food. Biotech corporations fear that the revocation of the Neem patent will set a precedent that could put billions of dollars of their “biopirated” patents on drugs and seeds at risk.000 acres. Wild Oats.R. • Bt cotton gives rise to “Stink Bug” epidemic. of Boise. pet food purveyor Iam’s. have announced plans to go “GE free.com/~nlpwessex/Documents/btcottonnoprofit. Monsanto announced in early May that they were closing down their NatureMark plant in Crystal. Simplot.” On May 9 in Chicago at the convention of the Food Marketing Institute. • The death of Frankenspuds.” • America’s food giants begin to turn their backs on Frankenfoods. and both the domestic and global restaurant chains which we serve have asked us to exclude these potatoes. “Eurobarometer. Heinz. presenting the study at a news conference on April 27 flatly stated.R. a transgenetic laboratory and greenhouse operation that had been producing Bt potatoes since 1992.” recently analyzed by the European Commission. In 1996 Monsanto/Calgene’s Flavr Savr tomatoes were taken off the market after dismal performances in the field and on grocery store shelves.In a related story from Asia. Earlier this year. In November 1999. Bt potatoes thus join the growing obituary list of Monsanto’s Frankenfoods. amounting to 4% of last year’s total potato crop.btinternet. Bacillus thuringiensis. to repel the Colorado potato beetle. • European opposition to gene-foods is as strong as ever. They are seen to be very risky. Maine. a trade association of supermarket corporations. Since July. Bt potatoes are gene-spliced with the soil bacteria.

is to spray the Stink Bugs with toxic pesticides including methyl parathion. “a study conducted by Pioneer Hi-Bred . “We are encouraging farmers tosegregate crops. Not only does the Bt toxin not kill the Stink Bugs. reported by the Associated Press on May 18. pink bollworms. Dr.” said Larry Cunningham. The Winnipeg Free Press reported on April 24 that farmers in Canada are reducing the amount of acreage devoted to GE canola.net/RR_yield_drag_98. up from 8 percent last year. actually use 2-5 times more pounds of herbicide per acre than conventional soybeans sprayed with other “modern low-dose pesticides.The two year study. has the food industry worried. [grain] processors surveyed. one of the deadliest chemicals used in American agriculture. but apparently they love the mutant plants. • American grain dealers starting to segregate GE crops. Sierra Club. a subsidiary of DuPont.S. Recent studies carried out at the University of Nebraska indicate that gene-altered Roundup Ready soybeans produce 6-11% less yield than conventional soybeans. A May 4 report on the New York Times website www.nytimes. and budworms—were previously considered harmless “secondary pests” until the overuse of toxic pesticides (sold by the same companies now peddling so-called “environmentally friendly” Bt crops—Monsanto. senior vice president for corporate affairs at Archer Daniels Midland. All signs indicate that US farmers are slowly but steadily moving away from GE crops. a consultant for the Consumers Union. up from 11 percent in 1999. see www. On May 9 the Council of Canadians. In Europe and Japan some people are willing to pay a premium for segregated crops. and a coalition of public interest groups filed a legal petition against the federal government for failing to protect public health and the environment in regulating geneti– 218 – . According to the March 31 Associated Press. • More bad news for Monsanto.” • Opposition to GE foods increases in Canada. contrary to frequent claims by Monsanto. Charles Benbrook. “And we have an opportunity to also benefit from it.” According to the Times.pdf • American farmers back-off on GE. the pests that Bt-spliced cotton are designed to kill—cotton bollworms.200 U. Novartis. So much for the notion that Bt cotton will get US farmers off the toxic treadmill. of the 1. posted on their Farmsource web site. Monsanto’s recommendation. 13% less cotton. 24 percent were planning to segregate corn crops this year.in North Carolina and Georgia are becoming infested with Stink Bugs that are eating up the cotton crop. a recent USDA survey showed that American farmers will plant 24% less genetically engineered corn this year. A nationwide campaign against Loblaw’s.com/yr/mo/day/news/financial/04tsc-foods.html indicates that many of America’s grain wholesalers are segregating GE and non-GE corn and soybeans for overseas export. In another damaging revelation. the nation’s largest supermarket chain. As analysts have pointed out to BioDemocracy News. perhaps by as much as 10%. even though they’ve been telling the public for years that segregation is impossible.biotech-info. showed Roundup Ready soybeans yield 6% less than their closest relatives and 11% less than high-yielding soybean varieties. and 20 percent were planning to segregate soybean crops. and 9% less soybeans. published a summary of an upcoming report revealing that genetically engineered Roundup Ready soybeans. and Aventis) killed off their natural predators and parasites and turned them into major pests. indicated that.” For background information see a previous study by Benbrook on RR soybeans.

Under Canadian law. For further information on the legal petition see www.C. three-quarters (75%) of Canadians familiar with GE foods are worried about their safety and almost all (95%) want GE foods labeled as such. Greenpeace and 51 other groups filed a legal petition against the FDA in Washington. told a globalization conference sponsored by the Economic Strategy Institute that “while some American consumers are raising concerns about genetically modified foods. Four thousand people demonstrated against genetically engineered foods in Boston. Cargill also has strong ties to Monsanto. Meanwhile sabotage of biotech crops has continued in the US. they are ignoring the safety risks of organically grown corn. The Kucinich GE labeling bill has drawn angry criticism from the biotech industry. Companion bills on safety testing (Patrick Moynihan.” • On March 21 the Center for Food Safety. • On March 21 anti-GE protesters. blocked the road to the Cargill corporation’s international headquarters outside Minneapolis for several hours. long-term safety-testing that these products are safe for human health and the environment. ln September Cargill donated $10 million to the University of Minnesota for a plant genetics research facility. soybeans and other grains. and at the annual shareholders meeting of the Safeway supermarket chain. the government is required to respond to the challenge within 120 days. Moreover. Cargill. On May 15 Reuters reported that Ernest Micek. According to a March 31 poll conducted for the Council of Canadians. is one of the most strident proponents of GE crops. the world’s largest grain dealer.org • In Washington 52 members of the US House of Representatives are now co-sponsors of a bill introduced by Dennis Kucinich (Democrat from Ohio) calling for mandatory labeling of GE foods. agribusiness. the OCA. the chairman of Cargill. and over two-thirds (71%) would even be willing to pay more to get them. and the Grocery Manufacturers of America—who maintain that mandatory labeling would unduly alarm consumers and thereby kill the industry. Over the past three months “Frankenfoods dumps” outside supermarkets in Boston. have generated significant media coverage and rattled the nerves of the biotech industry. Kucinich has also drafted a House bill on safety-testing. Democrat from New York) and labeling (Barbara Boxer. For further information on the grassroots lobbying campaign to get these bills – 219 – .cally modified organisms. with an April 8 announcement by the “Petaluma Pruners” that they had destroyed GE grape plants grown by the Vinifera corporation in Petaluma. Cargill sold its international seed business to Monsanto in 1998 and has agreed to manufacture commercial livestock and poultry feeds produced from Monsanto’s proprietary germ plasm. Democrat from California) have been introduced in the US Senate as well. A similarly high number (95%) want consumers to be able to buy non-GE foods. most respondents (56%) are not confident in the federal government’s ability to protect their health and safety when it comes to GE foods—although grocery retailers say they depend on consumer confidence in government testing. wearing white biohazard suits and respirators. organized by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) and Friends of the Earth. California. calling for a moratorium on all GE foods and crops unless the FDA can prove through stringent. marching in front of the national convention of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).foodsafetynow. Massachusetts on March 26. led by a group called Grain RAGE (Resistance Against Genetic Engineering). San Francisco. D. • Anti-GE protests increase in the US.

A prestigious panel of Swiss scientists.S. Zeneca. Dow.3 percent. Despite the flawed methodology.org • More than two dozen bills related to gene-foods have been filed in US state legislatures over the past year year in at least 13 states.” As activists point out. commissioned by Greenpeace. launched a Web site www. “We now know that EPA’s approval of insect-resistant crops was based on false assumptions. registration of farmers planting GE crops. • Swiss panel slams EPA.greenpeaceusa. 5.org • Investors rebel against gene-foods. Novartis. on April 19 issued a peerreviewed critique of the shoddy science endorsed by the EPA to certify the environmental safety of Bt corn. opened a consumer information hotline. and labeling gene-altered foods. dealing with issues such as the “Terminator” seed technology. Doreen Stabinsky. 4 percent and 3. once a company faces opposition from 10-15% of its shareholders on an unpopular position such as using GE ingredients in its products. and continued to accept the same flawed testing procedures for approval of other companies’ insect-resistant “Bt” crops. Pharmageddon Strikes Back: Disinformation. which garnered a respective 8. a science advisor to Greenpeace. up from zero a year ago. the narrator tries to equate the potential benefits of GE crops with the more widely accepted uses of biotechnology in medicine.2 percent of the support of voting shares. ex-ambassador to the United Nations and former Nobel Prize winner Dr. BASF. Kellogg’s. and skewed results. Monsanto.and PepsiCo have already voted on the resolutions. EPA accepted the tests as scientific evidence that the gene-altered crop was harmless to non-target insects.. Regulatory Reforms Fearful that the global backlash against gene-foods is spreading to the U. the Council says it may spend as much as $250 million on the campaign over the next five years. shoddy methodology.. Flashing between scenes of farm fields and medical labs.. Aventis.whybiotech. and the Biotechnology Industry Organization have launched a $50 million a year public relations campaign to confuse and mislead the American public. Shareholders at Coca Cola. According to the St. and enlisted prominent scientists and public figures (including Andrew Young. DuPont. their proliferation is evidence that more and more politicians are feeling the heat from constituents on GE foods. In the CBI’s opening national TV ad. the so-called Council for Biotechnology Information has paid for cheery “biotech is great” national television ads.com. carried out focus groups and polls. the 60-second ad proclaims: “A patient has a – 220 – .thecampaign. Anti-GE shareholder activism in the US has increased considerably since the first of the year. James Watson) to serve as messengers for pro-biotech propaganda.passed in Congress see www.6 percent. Phillip Morris . Louis Post-Dispatch on April 4. TV Ads. Although these bills have been held up in committee or rejected in the face of concerted lobbying by powerful biotech and agribusiness special interests.” For more information on the EcoStrat report see www. it will usually change its company policy. According to the New York Times “Twenty-one resolutions calling for restraints on the use of genetically modified ingredients are on the annual meeting agendas at some of America’s leading food and seed manufacturers this year. According to Dr. Fronting for the Gene Giants. The EcoStrat report reveals that tests submitted by the biotech companies Novartis and Mycogen to determine whether their GE corn could harm non-target insects were so poorly designed that there was virtually no chance that adverse effects would be observed.

The media also broadcast the criticisms of consumer and public interest groups that the 261-page NAS report paid little attention to the potential health hazards of GE foods. While the biotech industry applauded the conclusions of the study. a crowd of protesters dressed in white lab coats. BSMG recommends broadcasting the above “positive messages” to American consumers to counteract their negative views on biotechnology. as are senior citizens. are more likely than men to have negative feelings about gene-altered foods. government agencies and found to be safe. and can help feed the world’s hungry. are helping doctors and farmers to treat our sick and to protect our crops. These negative feelings are “rooted in fear of the unknown. and strongly oppose industry efforts to restrict labeling or to make it voluntary. fear of negative consequences for human health. while the original head of the panel. left the NAS to work as a PR flack for the Biotechnology Industry Organization. In a national focus group study carried out last September 14-19 by public relations powerhouse BSMG Worldwide on behalf of the Grocery Manufactures of America. nearly every media organization in the country reported that the NAS report was plagued by charges of conflict of interest. and resistance to tampering with nature. chanting anti-GE slogans.” DISINFORMATION FROM THE BIOTECH INDUSTRY: • GE foods have been thoroughly tested by U.medicine she needs. • GE crops reduce the use of toxic pesticides. While the scientific talking heads at the NAS press conference in Washington tried to reassure the public that GE foods were safe. A cotton crop helps protect itself from certain pests because discoveries in biotechnology. • Both men and women overwhelmingly support mandatory labeling of GE foods. Forty-eight percent say they oppose any use of “genetic modification” in food production. holding up signs (“The Best Science Money Can Buy”) and giant dollar bills. from medicine to agriculture. Unfortunately for the biotech industry. A boy can survive a childhood disease. Michael Phillips. a copy of which was obtained by BioDemocracy News.” African-Americans are also “notably negative” toward gene-foods. • Biotechnology increases the nutritional content of foods. • Only 15% of consumers are aware that the majority of supermarket foods already contain genetically engineered ingredients. BSMG also learned from interviewing American consumers that there are some major obstacles to public acceptance of GE foods: • American women. national TV networks broadcast a different image—outside the NAS headquarters. Spoiling the Party: The National Academy of Sciences Report & FDA “Reform” On April 5 the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released their long-awaited report on genetically engineered crops. The majority of the dozen scientists on the NAS panel receive money from biotech corporations or labs under contract to the industry. who generally do the grocery shopping.S. – 221 – . • Two-thirds of Americans say they are “concerned” about biotechnology issues. makes them taste better.

or may be moved into edible portions of plants.org) points out. then spread into the environment.purefood. and (3) non-specific disclosure of research data by biotech corporations on the internet. Headlines across the country emphasized that the FDA was refusing to label GE foods.rachel. (2) non-specific industry-FDA “consultations” before new Frankenfoods and crops are put on the market.” GE fish. and action alerts. Battered by mounting public criticism and serious market share loss in Europe and Asia. In the next issue of BioDemocracy News we will take a critical look at the new generation of genetically engineered products being readied for market: socalled “functional foods. “The biotech industry consulting with the FDA does not constitute safety-testing. the EPA. however. events listings. and the USDA). the Food and Drug Administration’s long-anticipated announcement of “regulatory reforms” on GE foods and crops May 3 was met with indifference or hostility on the part of the general public. As Debbie Ortman.” As we predicted months ago in BioDemocracy News the FDA is calling for nothing more than (1) voluntary industry labeling. Ronnie Cummins BioDemocracy Campaign/Organic Consumers Association – 222 – . National Field Organizer. nor is so-called voluntary industry labeling of genetically engineered foods what 90% of consumers want—mandatory labeling. Frankentrees. and other mutants. The NAS report admits that: • New allergens and toxins may be introduced into foods.As Rachel’s Environment & Health weekly (May 11) (www. the NAS report has turned into yet another public relations debacle for the biotech industry. In the meantime stay tuned to our website www. • Nutritional content of a plant may be diminished. • Existing toxins in foods may reach new levels. • New allergens may be introduced into pollen.” Of course this is not the end of the debate. a close reading of the NAS report is actually quite damning for the biotech industry and the nation’s regulatory agencies (the FDA. • Previously unknown protein combinations now being produced in plants might have unforeseen effects when new genes are introduced into the plants.org for daily updates. Instead of a whitewash on the safety of GE foods. In a similar vein. now spreading to North America. of the Organic Consumers Association put it. while reporters noted that every consumer and environmental group in the US was denouncing the FDA maneuvers as “too little and too late. we can expect Monsanto and the Gene Giants to fight back with all they have.

Little Marais.net – 223 – .6114 Hwy 61. 218-226-4164 • fax 218-226-4157 email: alliance@mr. 55614 Tel. Mn.

rather than impartial judges of a novel and powerful new technology.[1.pg. and that soon few traditionalforms of food may remain on the shelves. • Companies that buy from farmers and sell to food manufacturers and grocery chains do not need to keep genetically-engineered crops separate from traditional crops. because no one will know who has been exposed to novel gene products and who has not. in cotton. for better or for worse. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).AGAINST THE GRAIN Marc Lappe and Britt Bailey. soybean crop (60 million acres) will be genetically engineered. 100% of the U. and the U. compared to traditional rates of change in farming. These policies have two main effects: (1) they have kept the public in the dark about the rapid spread of genetically engineered foods onto the family dinner table. so purchasers have no way to avoid purchasing genetically engineered foods. The heads of all three agencies are on record with speeches that make them sound remarkably like cheerleaders for genetic engineering. and (2) they will prevent epidemiologists from being able to trace health effects. potatoes. every food carries a label listing its important ingredients. genetic engineering allows scientists to play God. and Wesson vegetable oils. Today Pillsbury food products are made from enetically-engineered crops. In 1997. Nestle’s chocolate.S.S.engineered seeds. agriculture almost overnight. By next year. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). with information about their genetically engineered origins. The mass media have largely maintained silence about the genetic engineering revolution in agriculture. Now.. Other foods that are now genetically engineered include Crisco. or any food products.5] The same revolution is occurring. Corn. removing genes from a trout or a mosquito and implanting them in a tomato. with the remarkable exception of genetically engineered foods. 15% of the U. Parkay margarine. Isomil and ProSobee infant formulas. Three federal agencies regulate genetically-engineered crops and foods — the U. Traditionally the movement of genes has only been possible between closely-related species.[1. Makes it clear that genetic engineering is revolutionizing U. tomatoes and other food crops are lagging slightly behind but. Tostitos and Ruffles Chips – and french fried potatoes sold by McDonald’s –are geneticallyengineered. to give new traits to the recipient. should any appear. Kraft salad dressings. if Monsanto Corporation’s timetable unfolds on schedule. Under the natural order established by the Creator. • No one needs to label any crops. and government regulators have imposed no labeling requirements. so consumers have no way to exercise informed choice in the grocery store.92] – 224 – . Genetic engineering is the process whereby genes of one species are implanted in another species.S. soybean crop was grown from genetically engineered seed. and all three agencies have set policies that: • No public records need be kept of which farms are using genetically. Fritos.S. at the same pace.pg.S. Doritos. there was no way dog genes could get into cats. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In the U. however. the U. so the public has littleor no knowledge that genetically altered foods are already beingsold in grocery stores everywhere. Green Giant harvest burgers. they are being deployed into the global ecosystem at blinding speed.S.S.

The genetic engineering companies (all of whom used to be chemical companies) — Dow. However. Quite the opposite. Eighty percent of all the vegetable oils in American foods are derived from soybeans. China and elsewhere. (d) the seeds would be cheap and freely available without restrictive licensing. Monsanto — are aggressively promoting their genetically engineered seeds in Europe. then Monsanto and the others would be developing seeds with certain predictable characteristics: (a) ability to grow on substandard or marginal soils. Only in the U. DuPont. and preeminently. The new genetically engineered seeds require high-quality soils. ESSENTIAL) ifthe world’s food supply is to keep up with human population growth.[1. if Monsanto’s plans develop on schedule –and there is no reason to think they won’t — 100% of the U. Huge opposition has developed to Monsanto’s technology everywhere it has been introduced outside the United States. A Roundup Ready crop of soybeans can with– 225 – . not to provide protein for people. And not just the U. India. and increased use of chemicals. or water. with increased per-acre yield.enormous investment in machinery. The genetic engineering revolution has nothing to do with feeding the world’s hungry.By next year. is targeted for change. are designed specifically to increase the sale of pesticides produced by the companies that are selling the genetically engineered seeds.S soybean crop will be genetically engineered. Novartis. without increasing the need for expensive machinery. Without genetic engineering. Monsanto says. (c) they would aim to favor small farms over larger farms. None of the genetically engineered crops now available.S.pg. neither Monsanto nor any of the other genetic engineering companies appears to be developing genetically engineered crops that might solve global food shortages. Monsanto is selling a line of “Roundup Ready” products that has been genetically engineered to ithstand heavy doses of Monsanto’s all-time top money-making herbicide. Argentina. and (e) they would be for crops that feed people. has the “agbiotech” revolution been greeted with a dazed silence. chemicals. or in development. Mexico. fertilizers. If genetically engineered crops were aimed at feeding the hungry. billions will starve. Quite the opposite.55] For example. Brazil. Roundup (glyphosate). There is evidence that their per-acre yields are about 10% lower than traditional varieties (at least in the case of soybeans). or in development (to the extent that these have been announced) has any of these desirable characteristics. (b) plants able to produce more high-quality protein. Monsanto — the clear leader in genetically engineered crops — argues that genetic engineering is necessary (nay. so most foods that contain vegetable oils will contain genetically engineered components by next year or the year after. not meat animals.[1.[1.84] and they produce crops largely intended as feed for meat animals.pg. The plain fact is that fully two-thirds of the genetically engineered crops now available.pg.S.52] It is safe to say that never before in the history of the world has such a rapid and large-scale revolution occurred in a nation’s food supply.

while destroying the usefulness of the one natural pesticide that undergirds the low-pesticide approach of IPM and organic farming. The result is entirely predictable. EPA had to accommodate Monsanto by tripling the allowable residues of Roundup that can remain on the crop.S. food security. Monsanto’s other major line of genetically engineered crops contains the gene from a natural pesticide called Bt. a miracle of nature. The farmer gains a $20 per acre cost-saving (compared to older techniques that relied on lesser quantities of more expensive chemicals). and sustainability.[1. from the chemical companies. To make Roundup Ready technology legal. Monsanto has taken the Bt gene and engineered it into cotton. water. Bt is a naturally-occurring soil organism that kills many kinds of caterpillars that like to eat the leaves of crops. heavy reliance on machinery. IPM [integrated pest management] and organic farming. or (b) change their diet to prefer other plants to eat. agriculture back down the old path toward vast monocultures. agricultural ecosystems must become diversified once again. and from the corporations that sell insurance. Monoculture cropping — growing acre upon acre of the same crop — is the antithesis of sustainability because monocultures are fragile and unstable. To them. the only insects that will survive are those that are (a) resistant to the Bt toxin. the movement toward IPM and organic farming has begun to take hold in this country — despite opposition from the federal government. This is the key idea underlying organic farming. Now comes the genetic engineering revolution. Monocultures can only be sustained by intensive.[1. Ultimately. energy. thus disrupting the local ecosystem and perhaps harming a neighboring farmer’s crops. expensive inputs of water. which is what it was intended to do. It is another brilliant — if utterly ruthless and antisocial — Monsanto business plan. It is like dusting the crop heavily with Bt. but any farmer who adopts Roundup Ready seeds must agree to buy only Monsanto’s brand of Roundup herbicide.75] Monsanto’s patent on Roundup runs out in the year 2000. for sustainability and long-term maximum yield.pg. energy. within 10 years Bt will have lost its usefulness because so many insects will have developed resistance to its toxin. Bt is a God-send. However.pg.stand a torrent of Roundup that kills any weeds competing with the crop. subject to insect swarms. and machinery. It is a wrong direction for another reason as well. all of which favors the huge farm over the small family operation. Slowly over the past two decades. this should not be confused with feeding the world’s hungry. Farmers who try to minimize their use of synthetic chemical pesticides rely on an occasional dusting with Bt to prevent a crop from being overrun with leaf-eating caterpillars. but the ecosystem receives much more Roundup than formerly. Bt is the pesticide of choice in low-chemical-use farming. and blight. corn and potatoes. drought. which is dragging U. Every cell of every plant contains the Bt gene and thus produces the Bt toxin. chemicals. It is selling more of Monsanto’s chemicals and filling the corporate coffers. from the banks that make farm loans. and chemicals. if the goals are long-term maximum yield. According to Dow Chemical scientists who are marketing their own line of Bt-containing crops. – 226 – . Thus Monsanto’s patent monopoly on Roundup is effectively extended into the foreseeable future — a shrewd business maneuver if there ever was one. not a reality.70] Thus Monsanto and Dow are profiting bountifully in the short term. When insect pests eat any part of these crops. and not in dispute. day after day after day. It is precisely the wrong direction to be taking agricultural technology in the late 20th century. “Feeding the hungry” is a sales gimmick.

hoping that the new gene will “take. Box 207.[2] What appears predictable and safe after a few years of observation of a small test plot may turn out to have quite different consequences when introduced into millions of acres of croplands in the U. The same gene can have different effects. taken together) is a black box.” Most of the time. the foreign gene embeds itself in the recipient plant’s genome and the newly-modified plant gains the desired trait. They have no idea where in the receiving plant’s genome the new gene has found a home. depending on the environment in which the new plant is growing. (207) 525-3068. Once in a few thousand tries. it is safe to predict that a small number of “life science” corporations (as they like to call themselves) — the majority of them American and the remainder European — will have a monopoly on the seed needed to raise all of the world’s major food crops. and for human health. BIOTECHNOLOGY AND THE CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF YOUR FOOD [ISBN 1567511503] (Monroe. Tel. a plant’s genome (all of its genes.S. PART 2 The corporations that are introducing genetically modified crops into the global ecosystem want you to think of genetic engineering as a well-understood science similar to laparascopic surgery. To begin with. A gene may control several different traits in a plant. ME 04951. Indeed. AGAINST THE GRAIN. Basically. plants with undesirable characteristics may be released into the global ecosystem. 1998). and elsewhere. If something doesn’t change soon. Then the hungry. Genetic engineering takes a gene from one black box and forces it into a second black box (the recipient plant). will have to pay the corporate owners of this new technology for permission to eat. Marc Lappe and Britt Bailey. your grandchildren are going to be living with it because there’s no taking it back. genes don’t necessarily control a single trait. Without careful study. – 227 – . In sum. raises a host of questions of safety for the future of agriculture. are grown from Roundup Ready seed — next year — then 100% of America’s soybean farmers will be dependent upon a single supplier for all their seed and the chemicals needed to allow those seeds to thrive.S. AGAINST THE GRAIN. This is not the case. It is clear that Monsanto’s goal is a similar monopoly on every major food crop here and abroad. the phrase “genetic enngineering” gives the impression that moving genes from one organism to another is as straightforward as designing a rocket or a TV set. combined with the speed and scale at which modified organisms are being released into the global ecosystem. Maine: Common Courage Press. Does the new gene destabilize the entire plant genome in some unforeseen way. Monroe. And biotechnology is not like a chemical spill that can be mopped up — once you release a new gene sequence into nature. But that is all the technicians know. where conditions vary widely. like the well-fed. leading one day to problems in that crop? Only time will tell. the experiment fails. P. This fundamental ignorance.When 100% of the soybeans in the U.O. How a gene affects a plant depends upon the environment. Available from Common Courage Press. Monsanto will have achieved a monopoly on a fundamental food crop. for the environment.

U.. This reduces regulatory costs for the corporations. This is called gene flow. but we also should learn from kudzu. A public health disaster was narrowly averted in 1996 when a group of researchers tried to improve soybeans by giving them a gene from the Brazil nut. it causes birth defects). but before the soybeans were sold commercially.pg. giving them new toxicity. farmers already spend $4.e. so federal regulations require no allergy testing in these cases. Many genes are being taken now from bacteria and other life-forms whose allergenicity is entirely unknown. In some people. They could not feed the genetically modified soybeans to people for fear of killing them. turning it into a chemical byproduct called DBHA. with the power to disrupt ecosystems. After this had been accomplished. the fire ant. Only tests on humans will suffice.29] Non-indigenous. “It will probably happen in far less than 1% of the products.[4. introduced species have provided great benefits to humanity (most of U.[3] According to SCIENCE magazine. and the boll weevil that exotic species can be extremely disruptive and very expensive to control (if indeed they can be controlled at all). many ecologists say it is only a atter of time before an engineered gene makes the leap to a weedy species. they confirmed unequivocally that people allergic to Brazil nuts were allergic to the modified soybeans. allergic reaction to Brazil nuts is swift and fatal.[5] The goal was to improve the nutritional value of soybeans by forcing them to produce more methionine. particularly Brazil nuts.pg.3 billion purchasing 628 million pounds of herbicides (active ingredients only) to control weeds. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only requires testing for allergic reactions if a gene is being taken from a source that is already known to cause allergic reactions in humans.”[3] Ellstrand predicts. because there will be so many [genetically modified] products being released. an essential amino acid. the researchers pointed out that tests on laboratory animals will not necessarily discover allergic reactions to genetically modified organisms. In discussing their findings in the NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE.” warns ecological geneticist Norm Ellstrand of the University of California at Riverside. EPA Environmental Protection Agency] as a possible carcinogen and as a teratogen (i. but through scratch tests on skin.Genes can travel to nearby.32] The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) recommended that all genetically modified plants should be considered non-indigenous exotic species. [See REHW #637. agriculture relies on introduced species).[4. A series of laboratory tests on humans confirmed that the genetically modified soybeans did provoke Brazil-nut allergy in humans. the modifiedcrops change the pesticides themselves.S. this creating a new weed or invigorating an old one. purple loosestrife. “but within 10 years we will have a moderate-to-large scale ecological or economic catastrophe.S. related plants on their own. the bromoxynil-resistant gene in cotton modifies the bromoxynil.] In some cases. nfortunately. but leaves the public unprotected. The herbicide bromoxynil falls into this category. It is worth noting that U. The gene from the Brazil nut was successfully transferred to soybeans. Many people are allergic to nuts. independent researchers tested the soybeans to see if it would cause allergic reactions in people. which is at least as – 228 – .S. Crops are being genetically modified chiefly as a way to sell more pesticides.pg. Calgene (now owned by Monsanto) developed a strain of cotton plants (called BXN Cotton) that can withstand direct spraying with bromoxynil.41] Bromoxynil is already recognized by U.[1. the gypsy moth.S. In 1996 gene flow was discovered to be much more common that previously thought.

toxic as bromoxynil itself. Thus genetic engineering — which is being promoted as a technology that will reduce the perils of pesticides — will in some instances increase them. They plan to manufacture vaccines. they found it to be 2. EPA conducted a risk assessment that assumed bromoxynil and DBHA had no way to enter the human food chain. Soil microbes. Infants who must be reared on soy milk.7 per million. gin mill leavings. Both bromoxynil and DBHA are fat-soluble. EPA in1997 declined to require a special safety factor to protect children from bromoxynil. and despite a law (the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996) that explicity gives EPA the power to reduce exposure standards to protect infants. those Bt toxins will be incorporated into foods made from those crops. foraging and burrowing animals. In rats and in rabbits. • Crops that are genetically modified to resist herbicides detoxify the herbicides by producing proteins. Aquatic organisms will confront the drugs and chemicals washed into streams. Although humans do not eat cotton. because they cannot tolerate lactose in regular milk. so they can accumulate in the fat of animals. and rivers from fields. will be at special hazard. • The “life sciences” companies have big plans for turning agricultural crops into “factories” for producing pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals in open fields. and worms will be exposed as they degrade plant debris. detergents. including changes in the bones of the spine and skull.[1. traditional silage for cattle contains up to 50% cotton slash. These birth defects appear in offspring at doses of bromoxynil that are not toxic to the mother.143] When crops are genetically modified to incorporate the naturally-occurring Bt toxin into their cells (see REHW #636). soybeans and soy products will carry increased chemical residues. which will be incorporated into our food with unknown results. Furthermore. In licensing bromoxynil for use on Monsanto’s genetically modified BXN Cotton. when EPA added up the cancer-causing potential of bromoxynil. drugs. and a myriad of other non-target organisms to these chemicals and to the gene products that make them.7 less than one? By all appearances.[1. cotton seed oil is widely used as a direct human food and as a cooking additive. another danger that EPA has disregarded.”[4.pg. Therefore.46] Is 2. and they promptly declared this to be “well within” the one-in-a-million regulatory limit. enzymes and other chemicals by putting the right genes into the right plants. Lastly. The Union of Concerned Scientists says. and hydrocephaly (“water on the brain”). Because genetically-engineered soybeans will be doused with increased quantities of herbicides. bromoxynil causes serious birth defects. Lastly. “Herbivores will consume the chemicals as they feed on plants. What will be the effect of these toxins and gene products on the bacteria and other organisms (the so-called microflora) that live in the human digestive tract? Time will tell. Despite these findings. insects. and cotton debris. it is likely that DBHA will make its way into the human food chain through meat. cotton dust — the cause of brown lung disease — will now carry the added hazard of bromoxynil and DBHA. seed-eating birds. lakes. EPA is more interested in protecting Monsanto’s investment in this new technology than in protecting public health.pg. The net effect of all this will be to expose soil insects and microorganisms.pg.6] – 229 – . such as Roundup glyphosate).

and it is being deployed by the same corporations that. Do we know enough to select the “right” combination of genes to assure the stable. Available from Common Courage Press. Agent Orange. 180-181. GENETICS AND THE MANIPULATION OF LIFE: THE FORGOTTEN FACTOR OF CONTEXT (Hudson. 1996). 688-692. genetically-engineered crops substitute human wisdom for the wisdom of nature. No. NY 12534. “Could Transgenic Supercrops One Day Breed Superweeds?” SCIENCE Vol. pgs. 1998).O. AGAINST THE GRAIN. the diversity of our agricultural systems is being further diminished. DDT.: Lindisfarne Press. 334. Is there any good reason to think things will be different this time? [1] Marc Lappe and Britt Bailey.Y. CFCs. Nordlee and others. N. 274 (October 11. P. (207) 525-0900 or (800) 497-3207. “Identification of a Brazil-nut Allergen in Transgenic Soybeans. [3] James Kling. Tel. Monroe. Genetic engineering is by far the most powerful technology humans have ever discovered. Available from Lindisfarne Press. 11 (March 14. – 230 – . Hudson. [4] Jane Rissler and Margaret Mellon. Massachusetts: MIT Press. RR4 Box 94 A-1. ISBN 0-940262-77-0. 1996). long-term yield of our agricultural systems? Our recent experiences with PCBs.” NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE Vol. have produced one large-scale calamity after another. pgs. As genetically-engineered crops are planted on tens of millions of acres. historically. BIOTECHNOLOGY AND THE CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF YOUR FOOD [ISBN 1567511503] (Monroe. Maine: Common Courage Press. 1996). [2] Craig Holdrege. [5] Julie A. ME 04951. 1996). Box 207. and global warming should give us pause.Most fundamentally. THE ECOLOGICAL RISKS OF ENGINEERED CROPS (Cambridge.

it forces the cow to produce excess quantities of a potent chemical messenger called IGF 1. When you shoot up theca cow with this drug. Multinational Monitor: What is the status of food safety in the United States? Cummins: The United States has the most cont arninated food supply in the industrialized world. Cummins is among those leading an effort to plan a global campaign against Monsanto. because the U. government does not have an adequate sys tem for monitoring the antibiotic residues in the milk. nor labeling. It mimics a chemical hormone that occurs naturally in a cow’s body. The government admits that there are 22 serious health problems in cows that result from shooting them up with this drug. One is chemical contami nation. It is for that reason that the Government Accounting Office recommended to the FDA. And since 1994. major animal health problems. The United States has the most conta minated food supply in the industrialized world. it revs up their system in such a way that it causes major stress on the cows. The government admits that there are 22 serious health problems in cows ths residues in the milk. which in turn forces it to give 15 to 25 percent more milk. Multinational Monitor: What is rBGHand why do you think it should be banned from the mar ket? Cummins: Bovine growth hormone is a genetically engineered animal drug that Monsanto developed. with no special pre markct safcty testing required. since the government has allowed the commercialization of 37 new genetically engineered foods and crops. Minnesota. We call rBGH crack for cows. Then there is contamination related to filthy meat and poultry slaughter houses and factory farms to official government statistics put out by the Centers for Diseas And since 1994. the animals suffer a much higher rate of mastitistem in such a way that it causes major stress on the cows. consumers now have to worry about genetic contamination as well. consumers now have to worry about genetic contamination as well. both in 1992 – 231 – . based in Little Marais. There are several types of contamination. One is chemical contarninationrialized world. according to official government statistics put out by the Centers for Disease Control. Then there is contamination relat ed to filthy meat and poultry slaughter houses and factory farms.S. the biotechnology industry leader. There are several types of contamination. When you shoot up a milk cow with Monsanto’s rBGH.CAMPAIGNING FOR FOOD SAFETY An Interview with Ronnie Cummins Ronnie Cummins is the director of the Campaign for Food Safety. according to official government statistics put out by the Centers for Disease Control.” because when you shoot up a cow with rBGH. major animal health problems. ntamination relat ed to filthy meat and poultry slaughter houses and factory farstrial polluters.

S. which has Monsanto and its subsidiary Searle as a major client. and genetically engineered tomatoes and rapeseed ( canola) plants . Others include DuPont. because it eliminates the risk of spraying pesticides. Japan and Europe.C. prostate cancer and colon cancer. what are the chances that the milk comes from an rBGH treated cow? Cummins: The chances are pretty good because approximately 7 or 8 percent of all U. previously worked for the King & Spalding law firm. But since then there have been 37 other genetically engineered products approved in the United States and a couple of dozen in places like Cana da. rBGH is important because it is the first product of genetic engineering. such as Agent Orange. After Taylor left the FDA he once again went back to work for King & Spalding. After Taylor left the FDAyou have most people getting at least trace doses of rBGH in their milk and dairy productsre being shot up with this drug every two weeks. Agre vo. the problem is going to get much worse.. D. The top scientists at the FDA at the time they were approving rBGH had previously worked for Monsanto as researchers. And Monsanto is the world leader in trying to force genetically engineered foods and crops down the throats of consumers around the world.” The first concern regarding human health haz ards is increased antibiotic residues in dairy prod ucts. Multinational Monitor: If you go to buy a gallon of milk. it has been a prime lobbyist for so called tort reform FDAiting the damages from those poisoned by chemical corporations and other polluters. pollut ing communities and then avoiding liability. which have a pesticidal soil microorganism.S. There is mounting scientific evidence that humans who have high levels of IGF 1 in their blood stream are more susceptible to breast cancer. These include crops such as the Round Up resistant soybeans. And since non organic milk is typically pooled and its subsidiary Searle as a major client. The majority of these new genetically engi neered products have been commercialized by Monsanto.and 1993. Monsanto has been the most vocal of a handful of companies across the globe pushing this tech nology. dairy cows are being shot up with this drug every two weeks. government approved the drug is because of a rampant conflict of interest in the Clinton admin istration with the Monsanto Corporation. Dow. Multinational Monitor: If this is the case. The second major hazard is IGF 1. And since non organic milk is typically pooled Multinational Monitor: But it is not just RN that disturbs you about Monsanto. that it not approve this drug.government approve it? Cummins: It appears that the reason the U. It is the most important tool for organic farmers across the world and for farmers who are trying to use fewer toxic chemicals. Cummins: Bt is a soil microorganism. And the top decision maker at the FDA on approval and labeling. “We’ve already got a problem with excessive antibiotic residues in our milk sup ply and. Say you are trying to grow pota toes – 232 – . poisoning workers. spliced right into them. Eli Lilly. PCBs and NutraSweet. .S. Michael Taylor. They said. Novartis. In Washington. Bt. Multinational Monitor: Monsanto says that splicing the pesticide Bt into the plant is a good thing. It was commercialized in the United States in 1994. Cummins: Monsanto has a 100 year history of producing toxic chemicals. cotton and corn. then why did the U. Bt cotton and Bt corn. if you legalize rBGH.

corn and potatoes.organically. When the U. so that every cell of these plants will permanently produce Bt. Bt is used by organ ic farmers as an emergency tool to repel corn bor ers in corn. In the United States. Multinational Monitor: Why does popular resis tance to genetically engineered foods appear stronger in Europe than in the United States? Cummins: The European resistance to genetical ly engineered foods has been so strong. or boll worms in cotton. since 1996. in this case. if you overuse a biopesticide such as Bt.” The problem with this line of reasoning. has unleashed a deadly and incurable brain wasting disease called CJD. When Monsanto or Dow gene engineers pop up and say they are going to create a master race of plants. there was a tremendous upsurge in consumer concern about this. Consumers have learned in Europe that industri alized food production. the media in Europe have publicized the debate over food safety and genetic engineer ing much more thoroughly than in the United States. how are organic farmers going to survive economically? The answer is they are not going to be able to. because of the horrific historical experience of the Europeans with genetic engineering during the Nazi era. first of all. or potato beetles in potatoes. the pests will develop permanent resistance The problem is that once Bt is rendered use less. So. Even though only 30 or 40 people have died from this particular disease. a bill was introduced in Con gress and a federal court case was launched. and that most processed – 233 – . is that. no v five years later. They are going to be forced to turn to toxic chemicals after a few years or else go out of business. But. If you have an infestation of pota to beetle. 325 dairies pledged to not use rBGH. Europeans are not that impressed. people are more skeptical about Big Science over there. and just for the shortest amount of time. This will repel the pests so farmers won’t have to spray all of those nasty toxic insecticides on the plants. there were protests and milk dumps all over the country. “Look. and the reason that organic farmers are up in arms about gene altered Bt crops. In a similar fashion. as any farmer knows. Secondly. you would spray a bit of Bt on your crops. there were hear ings in Congress. people are very concerned about what is going into their food. which is the human equivalent of mad cow disease. most consumers have no idea that there are 45 million acres of geneti cally engineered crops across the country. scientists in the United King dom are still warning that it could reach hundreds of thousands or even millions before this epidem ic runs its course. Europeans also have a more heightened con sciousness regarding out of control technologies because of recent nuclear plant accidents like Chernobyl and the advanced suite of environmen tal destruction in areas such as Eastern Europe. probably the only “Frankenfood” they have ever heard of is the bovine growth hormone.S. media did publicize the rBGH controversy in 1994 and 1995. has gone through a food crisis triggered by the mad cow epidemic in Great Britain and other countries. 37 genetically engineered foods and crops. It is the most important nat ural bio pesticide found in nature that we have. just the minimum amount you need to repel the beetles. And there is a heck of a difference between using Bt as an emergency tool rganic farmers are up in arms about gene altered Bt crops. Europe. as any farmer knows. is that. So. feeding back dead and diseased animals on an industrial scale to animals. Unfortunately. the pests will develop permanent resistance to it. if you overuse a biopesticide such as Bt. Finally. Monsanto has now stepped up and said. we are going to take that Bt and gene splice it into the genome of crops like cot ton. if you ask someone on the street about genetically engineered food.

They want to know whether foods have been genetical ly engineered or not. The government is disregarding polls which have shown over and over again in the last 10 years that 80 to 95 percent of American con sumers want a choice in the marketplace. “Let’s give the government a monopoly over the word organic. But they got a big surprise. And let’s ban anything that even implies organic. Let’s make it illegal for any organic certi fiers to have standards higher than the minimum USDA standards.” The government released its proposed federal regulations in December 1997. the USDA realized it had a major problem. the National Food Processors Association. Corporate America needs to either take over this industry or keep it marginal. but it is a market that is expanding rapidlyds. During the public comment period.” By May 1998. The b~king at this and saying. “Let’s draw up some federal regulations on organic foods so that you can call genetically engineered foods organic. as well as foods produced with toxic sludge organ ic.5 percent of the total food dollar. toxic sludge. Back off for a few years and we’ll try again later. more and more consum In a poll done by Novartis Corporation in Feb ruary 1997. Multinational Monitor: Last year. The USDA admitted that it received 20 times more comments from citizens on their proposed organic regulations than any other USDA regula tion in the history of the agency.000 Arnericans wrote in irate letters. the American public is just now starting to learn that industry and government have covertly genetically engineered a lot of the food out there and that they’re not allowed any choice over the matter because the government says that it does n’t have to be labeled. they said. like eco labels. Last year.” In addition. we will not accept genetic engineering. right before Christmas. How did that hap pen? Cummins: Because there is such a problem with food safety and genetically engineered foods. This is only about 1. So they said. antibiotics. which we believe should be the lowest in the world. so that they can exercise their right to not buy them.” The organic industry is no longer just a few hippies selling some wilted looking produce at a few tiny stores. factory farming or these other industrial food processes under the organic label. so you can call irradiated foods organic. Even companies like Monsanto told the USDA to back off on the idea of biotech being okay under the organic label because it is starting to damage the industry’s entire reputa tion. So. more and more consumers over the past decade have turned to organic food. obvi– 234 – . so you can call the products of factory farms organic. Grocery Manufacturers of America and the Farm Bureau sat down with the Clinton Administration and said. trade associations such as the Biotechnolo gy Industry Organization. “Okay. This is now starting to be a big industry. So. $5 billion worth of organic foods were sold in the United States. “This is not a good thing. “Hell no. 280.foods in supermarkets have at least traces of genetically engineered ingredients. it is starting to damage the entire biotech industry. the food giants said. faxes and e mails to the USDA basically saying. the Depart ment of Agriculture proposed new federal regulations that would permit genetically engineered food to be labeled as organic. irradiation. 54 percent of the American public said that they want ~e doniina~m of agriculture in this country.

They are temporarily backing off on genetic engi neering. as they have always done. if you manage to corner the market in India for wheat seeds by perhaps giving them away to farmers or giving them good credit in exchange for the seed.~ seed saPin. through trial and error. so we’ll come back with some better pro posed rules. There was a tremen dous uproar over this and the Bank was forced to give back the money to Monsanto and back out of the deal. The seed companies were never able to develop hybrid seeds for rice and wheat and a number of other crops that they really wanted to monopolize. Multinational Monitor: Why are farmers around the world concerned that Monsanto is underminin. “We have invested a lot of money into developing these seeds.!r? Cummins: Traditionally. they are not going to work. The Terminator gene is the solution to the seed monopoly’s problem of farmers saving seed. Delta & Pine has since been bought out by Monsanto. we have had the development of a small number of seed companies developing hybrid seeds. you have to sign a contract agreeing that you will not save and replant the seeds. You’ve had Monsanto’s experimental crops burned in India. The Grameen Bank is the best known micro lender in the world.ously organic consumers don’t want this. announced it had a joint patent for what is called the Terminator technology. Monsanto forked over $150. the USDA came up with a posi tion paper on October 28. but they still want industrial agriculture practices to enter into the organic market forcefully. a cotton seed pro ducer. farmers would save their seeds and exchange them. The research on the Terminator gene was done with taxpayer money and now the exclusive rights to the patent are going to be held by Monsanto. They are going to have to come back to the seed monop oly to purchase their seeds.000 to the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. Farmers continued to save those seeds.” Unfortunately. farmers improved the seed stock. In 1998. the USDA and a company called Delta & Pine Land Company. But it appears that these latest proposals are not going to fly with consumers either. There is going to be a continuing battle for the next several years over the government’s attempt to degrade organic standards and outlaw dissent.” they say. “and we don’t want farmers to save them. 1998 that is the begin ning of the second set of proposed regulations which shows they are still up to their old tricks. You have to give Monsanto the right to enter your farm and inspect the premises to make sure you are not saving your seeds. Since the Second World War. sewage sludge and irradiation. Last year. These seeds will not reproduce. The chemical and genetic engineering compa nies are saying that it is not a good idea for farm ers to be able to save seeds any longer. This technology is not going over well in coun tries around the world. Monsanto and the Grameen Bank announced they were launching a joint project to make high-tech genetically engineered inputs available to low income peasants in Asia. there was a telling controversy in this regard. when the farmers go to save their seeds. Over time. You’ve had mass demonstrations in places like the Philippines. It has been a successful project.” When you buy Monsanto’s genetically engi neered seed. It lends small amounts of money to hundreds of thousands of poor peasants in Bangladesh. Multinational Monitor: Other activists around the world are engaged in civil disobedience and destroying genetically engineered test crops Cummins: In the last several decades there have been several mass citizen movements in the Unit ed – 235 – . So.

as called for in the May 27~ 1998 lawsuit of the Center for Food Safety against the FDA. the parliament banned genetically engineered foods in its canteens and cafeterias. the only way a consumer can guarantee that processed food or produce is not genetically engineered nowadays is to buy organically certified food. Germany. There have been actions in which Novar tis and Monsanto’s offices have been occupied by protesters. “We refuse to have one more fascist technologyuclear movement of the 1970s and 1980s. consumers wouldn’t buy them and the technology would be dead. There have been protests at the ministerial meetings of the European Com mission. We are seeing explosions of energy at the grassroots. but on the other hand. would be comparable to putting a skull and crossbones on it. they are selling “identity preserved” grains which are guaranteed not to be genetically engineeredo. To our knowledge. We are seeing explosions of energy at the grassroots. There was a tremen dous uproar over teenpeace have blocked the pathway of ships unloading genetically engineered soybeans and corn. Can you tell whether milk has rBGH in it or not? Cummins: Approximately 10 percent of the fluid milk in the United States today is labeled that it does not have rBGH in it. Thousands of school districts across Europe have banned these products. Multinational Monitor: Isn’t it impossible to segregate the genetically engineered crops from those that are not genetically engineered? Cummins: No. ered inputs available to low income peasants in Asia. The giant grain companies like Cargill and Continental and ADM like to say that it is technically impossible. companies to segregate the crops so that retailers and consumers have a choice in Europe. now a Monsanto subsidiary. This movement is saying. – 236 – .S.States and in Europecrops int project to make high-tech genetically engineered inputs available to low income peasants in Asia. The European Commis sion has started to develop laws that will require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods and crops. There have been boycotts instituted that have been successful to the point where major supermarket chains in countries like Austria. it is not impossible. In the UK. hard look at it and decide whether it had any benefit or not.S. The giant grain companies like Cargill and Continent Multinational Monitor: Let’s take milk. would slow down the technology to the point where the public could take a long. admitted. As the head of Asgrow Seed Company. UK and Switzerland are now saying they will not accept genetically engineered foods or ingredients. consumers are left in the dark as to whether it does contain genetically engineered ingredients. But for the 90 percent of the non organic milk in the United States. labeling genetically engineered food in the U. There was a tremen dous uproar over ti genetic engineering movement that rivals in scale the European anti nuclear movement of the 1970s and 1980s. it is not impossible. Farmers in France last year destroyed the entire shipment of Bt corn seeds that were sent into the country. Activists are trying to force U. Multinational Monitor: If these foods were labeled as genetically engineered. Cummins: Mandatory labeling.

. bizarremicroorganisms a Multinational Monitor: What is your prediction as to the future of . damages the nutritional value of food. They can literally create new human beings. In nature. or feed the world’s hun gry. MULTINATIONAL MONITOR DECEMBER 1998 – 237 – . Multinational Monitor: Nouv is the traditional cross breeding of plants different from what Monsanto is engaged in? Cummins: Traditional cross breeding of plants and animals can only occur in species and varieties that are closely related. We will make clear that chemical intensive and genetically engi neered agriculture are a threat to the planet and we have to put an end to them. radical. Genetic engineering is a radical new creation whereby scientists can take anything in nature and splice it into anything else. Australia and New Zealand is going to spread in the United States. This has nothing to do with traditional cross breeding techniques. hard look at it and decide whether it had any benefit or not. admitted. We too are going to build a mass movement comparable to the anti nuclear move ment of the 1970s and 1980s. capture monopoly markets and make more moneyic engineering creates new toxins. labeling genetically engineered food in the U. This is totally new.genetically engineered foods? Cummins: Genetically engineered foods are going to fail. the publicmpany. You will never find these things in nature. new allergens. They can put human genes into animals and plants. And they are beginning to do this.S. and creates asupenveeds” and “superpests.” Multinational Monitor: Do you believe that the technology is a danger to us ? Cummins: I believe that it is dangerous. new allergens. not only to public health but also to the environment. You are never going to have a toma to with its ripening gene reversed. As t it must be dangerous. they can take soil microorganisms and splice them into animals. damages apologists say. ke a long. You have to look at each one of the 37 genetically engineered foods and crops individually. now a Monsanto subsidiary.” This is a totally unnecessary and radical new agricultural technology being rushed to market because these companies want to drive up their stock prices. new plants and new animals. but over all genetic engineering creates new toxins. The kind of opposition that has developed in Europe and that we are seeing increasing in Japan. just like nuclear power. This time it is going to be a mass movement for sustainable and organic agriculture. Only the mad scien tists in lab coats can cross breed outside of nature’s laws. like clean the toxins out of agriculture. would be comparable to putting a skull and crossbones on it.At this point. And you are never going to have a flounder fish with an antifreeze gene spliced in it. You are going to see the kind of resistance across the board that you saw in 1994 and 1995 against rBGH. you are never going to have a pig mate with a human being and produce an offspring.

Modern genetics has shown that genes do not operate in isolation. Independent long term testing is required before we can be sure that GE food is safe to eat. Professor of genetics at Harvard University has said of GE:” we have such a miserably poor understanding of how the organism develops from its DNA that I would be surprised if we don’t get one rude shock after another. at the wrong times. bacteria) and/or viruses.THIRTEEN MYTHS OF GENETIC ENGINEERING (from Acres USA Jan 2000) Myth Number 1: Genetic Engineering (GE) is not new. Breeding does not manipulate genes. to produce their own insecticides or to have an increased shelf life.g. Myth Number 2: Genetic engineering is precise. insects. In contrast GE involves extracting selected genes from one organism (e. Richard Lewotin. animals. Myth Number 4: GE food is extensively tested and the GE food at present in our supermarket shelf is perfectly safe to eat. or synthesizing copies. Fact: There are serious doubts about the adequacy of GE testing and about the validity of the conclusions drawn from the results. Most GE crops are only designed to be resistant to specific herbicides. plants. Myth Number 6: One can always choose not to eat GE foods. changing their behavior in response to influences from other genes. Fact: No GE food produced to date has been shown to be more nutritious than non-GE food. Although a gene can be cut out precisely from the DNA of an organism. and artificially inserting them into another completely different organism (e. Existing molecules may be manufactured in incorrect quantities. Another health concern is the possible acceleration of the development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics due to the abuse of antibiotic resistance genes in the production of GE foods. it involves crossing of selected parents of the same or closely related species. GE foods and food products may therefor contain unexpected toxins or allergic mollecules that could harm our health or that of our offspring.g. GE usually employs virus genes and antibiotic resistance genes to act as markers. Fact: Genetic engineering and selective breeding are worlds apart. All these inserted genes are present in every cell of the plant. It is just the same as speeded up selective breeding. The random insertion of foreign genes into the genetic may cause unexpected changes in the functioning of other genes. Myth Number 5: Genetically engineered food has improved nutritional value. – 238 – . This results in the disruption of the order of the genes on the chromosome and may result in random and unexpected changes in the functioning of the cells. its insertion to the DNA of another is entirely random. Rather they interact in a complicated way . Fact: The function of only a small proportion of the DNA in a higher organism is known.” Myth Number 3: GE foods vary from non-GE foods only in the characteristic that has been modified. or new molecules may be produced. food crops).

Crops engineered to be resistant to specific herbicides may encourage more liberal use of those herbicides. and as more countries reject GE foods. In areas of the US where crops engineered to produce their own insecticide are grown. NON-GE crops now receive a premium. Both are committed to the promises of biotechnology. One respected scientist I the UK who spoke up about his experimental results showing the damaging effects of feeding rats on a type of genetically engineered potato was immediately fired from his job. it is hard for them to risk their careers by being openly critical. These ingredients are not labeled. canola oil and corn extracts. pesticide use has not decreased.g. Farmers in the UK and the US report that yields are generally no better. In this way resistance to weed killer E. Fact: Insects. Myth Number 11: You can trust the scientists that say GE food is god for you and the world. This will hurt farmers in the third world. Myth Number 9: There is no evidence that GE crops are harmful to the environment. Myth Number 10: GE crops will save the world from famine. and the crops are less reliable and less profitable. Mountains of food exist in much of the western world and food is regularly dumped. might be transmitted to weeds making them more difficult to control. Myth Number 12: You can’t stop progress. the opportunities to sell GE produce are diminishing. There is evidence that crops engineered to produce their own insecticide can kill beneficial insects. insurance companies in the UK and the US are reluctant to insure them. Fact: A major cause of famine is the unequal global distribution of food. – 239 – .Fact: At present most foods on the supermarket shelf contain GE ingredients. Fact: Seeds of GE crops are more expensive than those of conventional crops. Poor people have limited ability to buy either GE or non GE food. GE products are likely to be found in foods containing the following ingredients: soy flower and oil. This has been anticipated by one manufacturer who has applied to the Australia and New Zealand Food Authority to have the allowable residue of the herbicide glyphosate in foods sold in NEW Zealand increase by 200 times. Cross-pollination occurs between GE and non GE crops and their wild relatives. Farmers growing GE crops have to sign binding contracts with the biotechnology producers. Myth Number 8: GE crops will reduce the use of herbicides and pesticides. These commit them to using only the herbicides produced by that company and prohibit them of the traditional practice of saving seed for the next season. Because of risks associated with GE crops. Fact: The money for scientific research on GE comes from either the biotechnology companies or the government. This means that even when scientists have concerns about the safety or commercial application of the technology. lecithin. There is no evidence that GE crops produce higher yields than conventional crops or that GE produce will be cheaper. so there is no way of knowing whether we are eating them. Myth Number 7: Farmers will benefit from growing GE crop. birds and the wind carry GE altered pollen and seeds into neighboring fields and far beyond.

because of the dreadful developments that are taking place there”.net. Change for the worse is regression. (The scientists who developed this essay can be contacted at 03-489-4020 or 03-476-1345.g. Fact: Many scientist don’t think so. maybe more readily available even than nuclear weapons. who won a 1995 nobel prize says: “ My worry is that other advances in science may result in other means of mass destruction.nz) – 240 – . We must not commit ourselves. willingly or unwillingly to a dubious technology that cannot be reversed. the British physicist. E.Fact: Progress implies change for the better. Joseph Rotblat. e-mail: brentmckenzie@clear. GE is quite a possible area. Myth Number 13: There are more important tings to worry about than GE foods.

There is no way of knowing what the presence of a foreign protein will have on the metabolism and functioning of an organism. Scientists cannot however estimate the probability that harmful substances will be created in any specific case.” Genetic engineering means in most cases the insertion of a gene coding for a protein foreign to the species.GE FOODS ARE UNSAFE! Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology (PSRAST) 1. the socalled enhancers also stimulate the activity of surrounding native genes with potentially deleterious consequences. The metabolism of the cell may become disturbed in unpredictable ways. Therefore. It may have unexpected effects in addition to its desired effect including the possibility that it may cause the generation of a harmful substance. other regulatory sequences called enhancers are often included as they strongly stimulate gene expression. and genes inserted there will not have any effect). copied into RNA and translated into the protein for which it codes. Reasons why GE may cause the appearance of unexpected substances Molecular biologists have shown in the laboratory that the insertion of a gene may induce unexpected metabolic changes that in the worst case may result in harmful substances for the following reasons: With presently used techniques. normally. The artificially inserted strongly stimulating promoter-enhancer complex without any coupling to inherent regulatory mechanisms eliminates this delicate demand/supply regulation. This is especially so as. The enhancers may also activate genes that should normally bee inactive. But. i. it can be concluded beyond any doubt that genetic engineering of plants and animals may potentially cause them to unexpectedly contain substances harmful to people who eat them. In a foreign environment. General conclusion Based on both scientific theory and experimental data. 2. may become active in the fruit or seeds used. This may have unpredictable effects on cellular functioning. So GE foods are inherently unsafe and we neither have enough knowledge to estimate the risk for harmful effects nor fully reliable testing methods. The effect of a gene is context dependent.Some of the harmful substances which are known to be possible in genetically engineered foods could cause allergies or toxic reactions. For example a toxic protein that normally is only expressed in the leaves of a food plant. – 241 – . The promoter is added because it is an absolute requirement to ensure the inserted gene is “read”. the inserted gene has to be inserted in a region of DNA that is active (most of DNA is inactive. This will perturb the normal close control of DNA over metabolic processes resulting in unpredictable effects on the metabolism. so no gene is active longer than needed. because not enough is known about the new field of genetic engineering. to be successful. However. because the knowledge of DNA is incomplete. genetic engineering of food plants and animals may produce other problems which scientists have not yet anticipated. it will occur haphazardly in the midst of the ordered code sequence of DNA.e. “The so called promoter that is always included in gene insertion packages. the activity of genes is the result of a refined regulation of their expression. it may have unpredictable effects. Moreover. In addition. may cause metabolic disturbances (the most commonly used promoter comes from the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus “CaMV”). it is impossible to guide the insertion of a gene.

there may be effects that cannot be even imagined presently. A special class of hazards might be unexpected effects of known substances. Of course. Obvious candidates are GMOs modified to produce pesticides. Furthermore. they may cause unexpected allergies that may be more allergenic than proteins produced by the original DNA sequences. this risk is considered unlikely). Thus.) If so called fusion proteins are generated through GE. [AL]. Conclusion There are several known ways in which the artificial insertion of a gene may cause unexpected complications of a kind that never occurs in conventional breeding. Fusion proteins are created by linking pieces of DNA sequences from two or more sources. some risk assessments are more reliable than others. The degree of accuracy of a risk assessment is dependent on how much relevant information is available. Is it possible today to estimate the risk for appearance of harmful substances due to genetic engineering? Risk is the probability that some adverse effect (hazard) will occur in the future. if it is safe to eat food containing such proteins. In addition. by John Fagan. because insurance companies have many years worth of information about automobile – 242 – . Regulatory genes may inadverently be included in the inserted gene.These effects may be difficult to detect but might in the worst case generate harmful substances. no one can predict the future with perfect certainty. and because we have almost no experience with it. FDA and the European Union have been denying any hazards with GE foods. There are also other reasons why genetic engineering might caused increased problems with allergens. Some unexpected effects have been experimentally verified. the likelihood of generating allergenicity in fusion proteins is increased by the fact that the junctions at which two proteins are fused often assume configurations that are not common in natural proteins. see Examples of unexpected effects of genetic engineering. the quality of that information and how well that information is interpreted. (part of an article by John Fagan). 3. The regions where two proteins are joined can assume conformations very different from those of either of the original proteins.S. therefore.. (for more details. see Allergens generated in recombinant foods [AL].. An example of this is the demonstration of long term toxicity of a strain of GMO potato by Arpad Pusztai (Lancet 1999 Oct 16. see footnote. it is reasonable to expect future surprises. For example. It is satisfying to find that evidence have been unearthed indicating that this has been the result of suppression of truth. causing unpredictable complications (however. See “The new understanding of genes”. This might disrupt any of the cellular processes in which DNA or RNA participate which might result in many kinds of unexpected effects including the production of harmful substances.354(9187):1353-4). because the knowledge about DNA is very incomplete. There is no way of knowing beforehand. more likely to be allergenic. see “Incomplete knowledge about DNA” It took almost 50 years after the introduction of nuclear technology and synthetic pesticides to appreciate the health and environmental hazards they present. and are. Most of the foreign proteins that are used in genetic engineering have never existed in food. see The underlying mechanism involved in the “reading” of regulatory information. Because recombinant DNA technology (genetic engineering) is even more complex. The U. without extensive food safety assessment. with the kinds of genes presently used. The knowledge of regulatory genes is incomplete so there is a risk that an inserted DNA sequence may possess unanticipated regulatory activities. These genes regulate the activity of other genes. substances designed to be toxic.

Specifically.·Laboratory experiments with GE have been very limited. humans have had thousands of years of experience with naturally occurring foods.g. it is not yet possible to predict the likelihood of a major occurrence. sex. A cardiologist must understand anatomy. as anyone who uses a computer knows. our comprehension of all that can go wrong when foreign genes are added to foods. GE foods have been on the market for only about five years. there has been no way for scientists to compare the health of people who have and have not been eating them. and our ability to design safe GE foods is highly limited. our ability to predict the outcome of eating such foods. have cumulative or reproductive effects. It is illuminative to compare with a closely – 243 – . and because there are debates about what physical signals are important indicators. Such studies are necessary to evaluate the effects of substances which are slow-acting. developmental or reproductive studies of these foods. predict outcome and prescribe appropriate remedies. biochemistry and pharmacology to diagnose heart disease. Since the genetic control of cell function is an extraordinarily complex system which is only poorly understood. it is first necessary to understand how the system works. But we can definitely say today that there is no scientific basis for maintaining that harmful substances may not appear or are very unlikely. Moreover. Conclusion There is no scientific knowledge at all that makes it possible to estimate how likely it is for harmful substances to be generated in GE foods. see ·”Testing the safety of genetically engineered foods” by professor John Fagan. The problems of risk assessment per se have been further aggravated by the way regulatory agencies have been handling the GE food issue.In order to understand what can go wrong with a system and to evaluate its potential to go wrong.. Few controlled short-term human studies have been conducted on these new foods. see footnote: Unsatisfactory handling by regulatory agencies. On the other hand. endocrinological. because the physics of only a few major earthquakes have been monitored with sophisticated seismic equipment. metabolic. type of car. Not even the DNA sequence of presently marketed genetically engineered plants is fully known. But there are almost no long-term toxicological. and accident history) is most likely to be involved in an accident. Human experience with GE foods has been very limited. so there obviously has been no experience with long-term exposure to these novel foods. For some (but not all) GE foods. the opportunity for malfunction is increased as systems become more complex and as the manipulation of complex systems becomes more random and uncontrolled. Furthermore. For details see ·”The approval of Roundup Ready GE-Soy based on incomplete evidence” and for a suggested procedure. In contrast. since GE foods have not been labeled.accidents. they can predict rather well the characteristics of drivers (using data on age. eating solanine in green potatoes) are well-known. it is not possible to assess the risk of harm from eating GE food with a high degree of accuracy because: Genetic control of cell function is not well understood (see footnote ·Incomplete knowledge of DNA). and the conditions under which they pose hazards (e. neurological. Problems with food safety testing Safety testing of GE foods is problematic because genetic engineering may give rise to unexpected and unpredictable substances. physiology. some short-term studies have been conducted on experimental animals.

what kind of harmful effects might occur. allergenic. The only way of minimizing the risk of not detecting unexpected harmful effects of harmful substances is to use long-term testing. Against the experiential backgound from medical drug testing. he concludes that there will remain a “residual risk” for unexpected long term damage.htman studies.000. signed an Open Letter demanding that GE foods that have not been tested properly should be withdrawn from the market (in practice this means all GE foods). They have been applying the tests very rigorously and carefully. The present version is the result of an ongoing and not yet completed revision through the contribution from new co-authors. Authors: – 244 – . such a procedure is impossible because it would give rise to nutritional mbalances. see “Substantial equivalence versus scientific food safety assessment” Footnotes Incomplete knowledge about DNA Suppression of truth turning untenable Unsatisfactory handling by regulatory agencies Published in May 1999. For foods. As animals are not fully reliable predictors of food safety for humans.000-3. Still about 3 percent of drugs released on to the market have been withdrawn because of unexpected harmful effects that were not revealed until the drug had been used at a large scale. And about 10 percent have had so serious side effects that their use has been considerably restricted. the testing of medical drugs. Yet the drug companies have been using the best available methods in the world. it can be confidently predicted that even most rigorous safety testing of GE foods is likely to fail to detect long term harmful effects to a considerable extent. Even with that test included.Latest update: May 12. Fagan has suggested a monitored premarketing test on a population of about 2. there is no clue to decide if an unexpected substance may be toxic.000. mutagenic or otherwise harmful.psrast. so a forced withdrawal from the market means a loss of billions of dollars. see “The need for rigorous biological risk assessment” and professor John Fagan. The greatest problem in toxicological testing is to reveal long term harmful effects.related field. All the authors of this document have.especially as there is an extensive experience of the reliability of such testing. along with several other scientists.·In medical drug testing. carcinogenic. it is necessary to use Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology (PSRAST) long term humhttp://www. it is possible to expose test objects to several times higher doses than used clinically. As experimental long term testing is not sufficient to ensure safety.org/defknfood. see Testing the safety of genetically engineered foods. it is considerably easier to detect harmful effects of a medical drug than of a GE food. In the case of GE foods.These testing schemes are fundamentally different from the superficial testing that has been presently been accepted for approval of GE foods.Strategies for long term testing of GE foods have been suggested by professor Arpad Pusztai. 2000.·On the basis of knowledge about the chemical properties of a medical drug. This helps to get an idea of the harmfulness of a drug. to a quite large extent. For these reasons.000 people during 2-3 years with close surveillance of its health status. Laboratory animal and human testing has been used as well as long term clinical studies. it is possible to predict. This is because the development of a new drug is very expensive.

Dr N.D. ISA Editor: Dr Jaan Suurkula.se . Professor Emeritus Health Science.Dr Michael Antoniou M.. UK. Ontario Canada Dr Samuel S. McMaster University. France Dr Suzanne Wuerthele Ph. Faculty of Health Sciences. Ontario. D.. Toxico-Pathologist.Safety Problems” Published by PSRAST www.Dir. Senior Lecturer in Molecular Genetics.Rech. Epstein M.D.D. UK Dr Joseph Cummins PhD. Daniel Ph.T. formerly at Rowett Institute. University of Liverpool. India.org – 245 – . (formerly Bombay).. M. info@psrast. Colorado.D. Aberdeen. FRSE. Raghuram Ph.D. Professor of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the School of Public Health. Hamilton. Professor in Molecular biology. Professor Emeritus in Genetics. Toxicologist and risk assessor. D.Path. UK Dr Bob Orskov DSc. UK Dr Arpad Pusztai FRSE. University of Caen. USA Dr C. University of Western Ontario London. GKT School of Medicine. Chairman of PSRAST “Genetically Engineered Food . London. Denver..M&H. OBE.psrast.htm Jaan Suurkula psrast@swipnet. University of Illinois Medical Center Chicago. FRCPath. Hab. Department of Life Sciences. Senior Lecturer. Vyvyan Howard MB.org/defknfood. Canada Dr Edwin E. ChB.D. Honorary professor in Animal Nutrition of Aberdeen University. King’s College. (Plant Molecular Biology) Lecturer. Macauley Land Use research Institute. University of Mumbai. Biochemistry&physiology.. PhD.. Dr Gilles-Eric Seralini PhD. FRSC. Retired. Aberdeen.

And so they have.. advising thousands of institutional investors across the world to sell GE.to GMO corn and soybean.html) which was published in July 1999 by the Deutsche Bank. They stated that “Thirty days ago.plant.ca) www. The future of agricultural biotechnology is in serious jeopardy. processors. once perceived as the driver of the bull case for this sector will now be perceived as a pariah. affecting not just stock prices but encouraging major life science companies to consider spinning off their GE divisions .” This highly influential report was sent to thousands of the world’s largest institutional investors.net/Deutsche. largest bank in Europe. Don’t believe it? Have a look at a revealing report entitled Ag Biotech: Thanks.TEN REASONS WHY FARMERS SHOULD THINK TWICE BEFORE GROWING GE CROPS E.uoguelph.The Deutsch Bank..uoguelph.. University of Guelph(eaclark@.biotech-info. We predict that GMOs. but if what you read in the farm press is any indication.com/Health/GEFoods – 246 – . Plant Agriculture. But No Thanks? (www.ca/faculty/eclark The tide appears to be turning against GE crops. as consumers. farmers will be the last ones to know it.Today. the investment community accorded only positive attributes. and supermarket chains line up around the world refusing to buy GE products.if anyone will buy them. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS VITALLY IMPORTANT SUBJECT VISIT www. Ann Clark. has gone public with its concerns. the term GMO has become a liability. the largest bank in Europe. It concluded by down-rating Pioneer Hi-Bred from HOLD to SELL. coupled with a broad negative recommendation for the seed sector in general . grain buyers.Lightparrty..

has given the best definition of sustainability I have ever come across: “The criteria for a sustainable agriculture can be summed up in one word. and especially in the environmentally sound methods by which they are produced. The phrase has actually been highjacked by chemical companies showing nice advertisements with ladybugs and weeds flowering in the fields who claim that so-called modern agriculture with all its chemical/synthetic interference is sustainable.000 tons of pesticides per year on our fields. The costs for monitoring the pesticide level in drinking water is the highest cost factor at 64 million DM.ORGANIC AGRICULTURE WORLDWIDE: A Fast-Growing Reality Bookshelves with scientific studies are filled and the evidence cannot be argued that the introduction of chemically synthesized pesticides has caused tremendous environmental and social problems. Politicians and organizations such as the United Nations have overused and overemphasized this phrase until it has become more or less meaningless.” That is what organic farming is all about. that do not grossly pollute the environment. The rapidly growing importance of organic agriculture may be seen in the development of organic regulations within “Codex Alimentarius. The organic movement and IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) claim the parenthood of introducing the term sustainability into agriculture.and this does not include the new federal states of our republic. – 247 – . and that foster life energy (or if preferred biological activity) within the soil and throughout the cycles of all the involved food chains. despite all the IPM propaganda from the chemical industry and the serious attempts of scientists and farmers to really reduce pesticide spraying. Our organic movement has four decades of experience in not only defining our way of practicing agriculture. that utilize as far as possible only renewable resources. the first IFOAM International Scientific Conference in 1977 in Switzerland was titled “Towards Sustainable Agriculture. STANDARDS & RULES There is no other farming method so clearly defined and regulated by standards and ruses as organic agriculture.” One of our earliest and most fascinating pioneers in the organic movement. the term of sustainability has become rather meaningless. Even in our highly educated country with careful training of our farmers in handling pesticides.” as well as in the fact that many nations such as England. but also in establishing inspection and certification schemes to give the consumer both a guarantee and confidence in the prime quality of our products. Lady Eve Balfour from the United Kingdom. In my home country of Germany.’ which means adopting techniques that maintain soil fertility indefinitely. WHAT DOES SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE MEAN? Since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Brazil in 1992. we still dump 30. Already 20 years ago. the costs for deadly poisoning with pesticides alone amounts to almost 8 million DM per year. ‘permanence. A recent study in Germany has shown that the economic damage for our society caused by the use of synthetic pesticides every year is in the range of up to 300 million DM (Deutschmarks) .

– 248 – . and recently the United States are enacting legislation in this field. and they are now competing with Austria for the lead. we can see how the whole babyhood sector is well on its way to becoming more or less exclusively organic. In Mexico tens of thousands of campesinos (small farmers) produce organic coffee for export. In Switzerland the organic share has reached the range of 7 percent. In Germany.S. as well as staple food organically for the local market. The draft for the U.000 organic farmers. a look at IFOAM and its membership gives some interesting indications. The boom in Austria. concluding that these agro-industry biased regulations would destroy the organic movement and our market opportunities.Argentina. the almost explosive development of organic agriculture all over the world is reflected in the fact that IFOAM now unites 670 member organizations and institutions in over 100 countries worldwide. The organic market in the United States is in the range of $3 billion and is expected to double in the next two or three years. We have lots of reasons to claim that “organic agriculture is sustainability put into practice. which is home to some of the biggest and transnational chemical companies whose political and financial power creates quite some pressure on the organic movement. Australia. Comparable clarity cannot be found for integrated farming methods. Graubunden. we are in the range of only 2 percent.000 farmers in over 30 villages converting a whole region into organic farming. It is impressive to have about 8. since they draw their inspiration from the IFOAM basic standards. it remains a fact that nationwide. Also. An organic farming project for cotton-producing farmers in Uganda started with a couple of hundred farmers and within three years has shown that 7. Yet. The Mexican UCIRI cooperative alone has organized some 7. Israel. Yet there has also been impressive development in the Southern Hemisphere and in the so-called Third World. which have now been translated into 18 languages from Chinese to Swahili. CONSUMER MARKET Fortunately. Founded in 1972 by six organizations (coming from three continents).Vorpommern already 10 percent of the total land is under organic cultivation.” A GROWING INDUSTRY In order to get an impression about the fast growth of organic agriculture. the federation developed after 15 years into an umbrella federation with about 100 member organizations in 25 countries. Neighboring countries show what booming developments are possible. But Sweden and Finland have also reached the level of Switzerland. the market development and consumer demand for organic products is matched by the rapid growth of conversion to organic farming methods. having around 30 percent. To get an understanding of how fast organic agriculture is spreading out we should look first at development on the farming and production level.000 farms either organic or in conversion to organic farming. There are fewer problems with the regulations in other countries by far. The latest statistics from Italy show 18. In the federal state of Mecklenburg. much less for so-called “sustainable” agriculture.000 farmers moved to cultivate organic cotton. In the last ten years. with the largest Kanton (province). indicates a 10 percent share for organic farming. regulation recently published has been heavily critized and has already attracted thousands of comments from around the world.000 organic farmers in Germany. with more than 20. A number of other German federal governments have committed themselves to a 10 percent organic goal.

It is encouraging that local markets for organic food are becoming increasingly established in so-called developing countries.000 pharmacies and to 1. Rapidly growing consumer demand is also reported from countries like Argentina.the fact that more than 30 percent of the daily bread in Munich is baked with certified organic ingredients is a clear indicator that organic products conquer mainstream markets.genetic engineering. If we continue to manipulate genetic organisms. The largest organic trader in the United Kingdom expects today’s estimated $11 billion world organic market to go to a volume of $100 billion in the next then years. we hear the same unrealistic promises as we heard when chemistry was introduced into farming.000 meals per day). and it is not economically viable (which doesn’t mean that the big multinationals cannot reap huge profits). Egypt. Genetic engineering has to be rejected for many reasons: It is dangerous and not at all risk tolerant. as well as in the convincing fact that our organic and often-called “biological” way of farming is so logical. The organic sector is probably the most rapidly growing food market in the world. in some countries. Sandoz. In the context of these figures and forecasts. The biodynamic SEKEM initiative. employing about 1. lately. delivers its products to 6. with a major share of this growth taking place in the United States and Japan. If one has a basic understanding of the underlying principles of organic farming and knows about the power of nature. has shown its preference for organic tea by the fact that the best selling herb tea is certified organic. one will agree with the firm position of the organic movement that genetic engineering has no place either on organic farms or on any other field. It is absolutely not necessary for food production and processing. with a lot of media attention and an ambitious commitment. have entered the organic sector. we will face problems. It may be surprising that even in a country like Egypt. I will continue to support the 76 percent of German consumers that are against genetic engineering in food and will work to ensure that the – 249 – . even up to 50 percent per year. Poland and Australia.000 people. Nestle. But I do trust in the power of markets and consumer demands.200 shops. which is accelerating the already existing problems of pesticide use. and enters our environment with a new dimension of global risk. which we may quite likely never get under control. In the promotion of genetic engineering. being a nation of tea drinkers. The growing importance in this context will be close cooperation between organic agriculture and the fair trade movement. Respected organic market analysts like Professor Ulrich Hamm have forecasted annual growth rates of 20 to 30 percent and. An indication of the organic future ahead is the fact that McDonald’s (with organic milk in Sweden). GENETIC ENGINEERING Many people may not see that organic farming will one day be so widespread that synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides become “endangered species. The boom for organic products is not a luxury of the developed world.” I certainly do not want to have the farmers worldwide forced legally to stop using pesticides. as we have seen in the case of Egypt. organic produce is becoming mainstream. Swiss Air (catering 25. Lufthansa and. The organic movement and the environmentalists are ready for the next struggle . Japan. Denmark’s target of reaching a 20 percent market share of the total food market for organic products in the next couple of years sounds quite realistic.

During my first practical training in farming on a conventional farm which used all the chemical options available. Look more closely at what organic farming has to offer. not only for healthier farmers and food.6853-5190. 1999 edition) – 250 – . If we continue with this positive approach. shop to shop. village to village. February..S.namely. of going to the roots) and join the organic movement. field to field. Germany. the organic movement will be the starting point. Executive director. and it cares about the social aspects of agricultural pursuits. He can be reached at Okozentrum Imsbach. Most fascinating for me was that organic farming is not at all a “do nothing way” of farming and that it does not get its strength by being against something like pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). farm to farm.future of genetic engineering will soon become history. and region to region. (Reprint. but also for a change in lifestyle and consumption patterns. I realized very quickly that this cannot be the future for farming.A. thus helping to develop sustainable societies with a bottom-up strategy . phone 49. Bernward Geier. D-66636 Tholey-Theley. Organic farming has at its core an attention to healthy soils and cycle economies. ACRES U. Have the courage to be more “radical” (in the truest sense of the word.

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